Michael J. Deem, PhD

  • Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics
  • Director, Consortium Ethics Program, Center for Bioethics & Health Law
  • Associate Director, Master of Arts Program in Bioethics

Michael J. Deem is Associate Professor in the Department of Human Genetics in the School of Public Health, with primary teaching and service responsibilities in the Center for Bioethics & Health Law. He completed his PhD in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and the Pediatric Ethics and Genomics Fellowship at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. Dr. Deem's primary research interests lie in bioethics (especially pediatric ethics and ethical issues in genetics/genomic medicine), philosophy of biology and medicine, and public health ethics.

Within the Center, Dr. Deem is Director of the Consortium Ethics Program, which provides continuing ethics education to healthcare professionals across western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and eastern Ohio; Associate Director of the Center’s Master of Arts in Bioethics Program; and a faculty member and advisor in the MA Program in Bioethics.

Dr. Deem also teaches undergraduate and graduate level ethics courses in the School of Public Health, School of Medicine, and the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Over the past ten years, he has taught ethics to genetic counseling, nursing, and students in the past, and has published multiple papers on interprofessional ethics education. He is currently collaborating on an NHGRI R25 project with colleagues at Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh to develop Genomic Competencies for Nurses from Theory to Application: An Online Long Course. For Oxford University Press, he is co-editing two books:  Nursing Ethics: Normative Foundations, Advanced Concepts, and Emerging Issues (with Center faculty member Jennifer Lingler) and The Oxford Handbook of Genetic Counseling (with Center-affiliated faculty member Robin Grubs and Emily Farrow). Dr. Deem’s monograph, Conceptual Issues in Genomic Medicine, is under contract with Cambridge University Press, and he has published in a range of clinical, philosophy, and public health journals, including American Journal of Health PromotionAnalysis, PediatricsJAMA PediatricsBiology and PhilosophyPhilosophy of Science, Nursing Outlook, and International Journal of Public Health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he became a frequent press and podcast commentator on vaccine hesitancy and religious exemptions and gave several invited talks across the country on these issues.

Dr. Deem is also Resident Fellow in Pitt’s Center for Philosophy of Science and participates on the ethics committee of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Before arriving at the University of Pittsburgh in 2021, he was a tenure-track faculty member at Duquesne University (joint appointment between the School of Nursing and the Center for Global Health Ethics) and Indiana State University (appointment in the Philosophy Program and Assistant Director of The Center for Genomic Advocacy).