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Rosa Lynn Pinkus, PhD

Professor, Department of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh





160 North Craig Street

Suite 204

Pittsburgh, PA 15213


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Related Sites:

Dr. Pinkus’s Consortium Ethics Program Faculty Page

Rosa Lynn Pinkus is Professor of Medicine and Neurosurgery and Director of Continuing Education for the Center for Bioethics and Health Law. She has also directed the Center’s Consortium Ethics Program since its inception in 1990. Dr. Pinkus is lead author of Engineering Ethics: Balancing Cost, Schedule, and Risk-Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle (Cambridge University Press, 1997) and co-author of An Ethics Casebook for Hospitals: Practical Approaches to Everyday Cases (Georgetown University Press, 1999). Her research interests have focused on studying how bioengineers and other mid-level health care professionals learn ethical reasoning using a case-based approach. With funding from the NSF-LIS Program, she is publishing results of this interdisciplinary work. Dr. Pinkus has extensive experience as an ethics consultant and has taught applied ethics for over twenty years in the School of Medicine. She has also developed and teaches two required ethics courses for undergraduate and graduate bioengineers at the Pitt School of Engineering. She has served as an ethics consultant to the Forbes Health Care System, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Passavant Regional Hospital, Harmarville Rehabilitation Center, the Surgical Procedures Committee of Passavant Hospital, and the Highmark Privacy Board, as well as the UPMC Ethics Committee for which she serves as an on-call ethics consultant.


EdB – Education, State University New York, Buffalo (1967)
MA – History, State University New York, Buffalo (1970)
PhD – History, State University New York, Buffalo (1975)

Research and Professional Interests

Case-based ethical reasoning
History and ethics in health care and in neuroscience
Mistakes in neurosurgery
Bioengineering ethics

Teaching Activities

School of Engineering:
Issues in Bioengineering: Ethics & Concepts
Societal, Political & Ethical Issues in Biotechnology


School of Medicine:
Case discussion leader in Pediatrics and Surgery, PMS III
Session instructor, Ethical Issues in Clinical Practice, MS-4 elective

Problem-Based Learning facilitator, Ethics, Law and Professionalism

Selected Publications


Pinkus RL, Kuczewski M. An Ethics Casebook for Hospitals:  Practical Approaches to Everyday Cases. Georgetown University Press, 1999.


Pinkus RL, Shuman L, Hummon N, Wolfe H. Ethics in Engineering:  Balancing Risk, Cost and Schedules, Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle. Cambridge University Press, 1997.



Pinkus RL, Smetanka S, Kottkamp N. Suzie’s Voice. In: Dudzinski D and Ford P, editors. Complex Ethical Consultations: Cases that Haunt Us. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2008. pp. 59-65.


Pinkus RL, Shuman L. Cicero’s Creed. In: Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. USA: Macmillan Reference, July 2005.


Pinkus RL. From Lydia Pinkham to Bob Dole: what the changing face of direct-to-consumer drug advertising reveals about the professionalism of medicine. The Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal  2002; 12(2): 141.158.


Pinkus RL. Mistakes in a social construct: an historical approach. The Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 2001; 11(2): 117-133.


Pinkus RL, Sauder RJ.  Creating Standards of Excellence for Residency Training in Neurological Surgery.  In: Ferrari M, editor. The Pursuit of Excellence Through Education (The Educational Psychology Series). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, August 2001.


Pinkus RL. Learning to Keep a Cautious Tongue:  The Reporting of Mistakes in Neurosurgery, 1890-1930. In: Zoloth-Dorfman L and Rubin S, editors. Margin of Error: The Necessity, Inevitability and Ethics of Mistakes in Medicine and Bioethics. University Publishing Group, Spring 2000.

Selected Presentations

Goldin I, Ashley K, Pinkus RL. Assessing Case Analyses in Bioengineering Ethics Education: Reliability and Training.  International Conference on Engineering Education, San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 23-28, 2006.


Goldin I, Ashley K, Pinkus RL. Teaching Case Analysis Through Framing: Prospects for an ITS in an ill-defined domain. Proceedings from ITS 2006 Workshop on Intelligent Tutoring Systems for Ill-Defined Domains. Jhongli, Taiwan: June 26-30, 2006.


Telectronics Case Study Which Comes First: Ethical Reasoning or Professional Knowledge? Katz School of Business, International Lecture. Pittsburgh, PA: June 18, 2006.


Goldin I, Ashley K, Pinkus RL. Collaborative Case Based Reasoning Assessment. National Science Foundation Engineering and Computing Education Grantees Conference. Washington DC: February 16-18, 2005.


Futility Policies: Are They Needed? Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Los Angeles, CA: May 21, 2003.


Auliso M, DeVita M, McCarthy C, Pinkus R. System-Wide Health Care Ethics: What About Non-Acute Care? Panel presentation at American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities Annual Meeting. Nashville, TN: October 25-28, 2001.


McCarthy C, Pinkus RL. Safety in Home Care: A Case-Based Approach. American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities Annual Meeting. Nashville, TN: October 25-28, 2001.


Ethics in Engineering Design and Production. 11th Annual Meeting, Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. Cincinnati, OH: February 28 – March 3, 2002.


Engineering Ethics: Balancing Cost, Risk & Schedule: Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle.  Invited Professor, California Institute of Technology. Pasadena, CA: May 8, 2001.


Goldin I, Ashley K, Pinkus RL. Introducing PETE: computer support for teaching ethics. Eighth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence & Law (ICAIL-2001). St. Louis, MO: May 21-25, 2001.