Message from the Director

Leonard Fleck photo

Welcome to the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences. The Center and its faculty have been devoted to addressing a broad range of medical ethics and health policy issues since its founding in 1977.

Our work has taken us:

  • From the bedside to bureaucratic suites
  • From legislative assemblies to community forums
  • From small towns in Michigan to world capitals

We have worked with physicians and nurses at the bedside to address with compassion the ethical challenges associated with care of the very ill and the dying. We have worked with physicians to encourage the practice of shared decision-making as integral to patient-centered care.

We have worked with legislators in Michigan and Washington DC to address the challenges of health reform.

We have struggled with health professionals and community leaders to answer this question: What does it mean to be a just and caring society when we have limited resources to meet virtually unlimited health care needs?

Consider our aging society; consider the needs of persons with disabilities.

Medicine has advanced dramatically in the past thirty years with the genetic revolution and the Brain Initiative. The relevant social issues have become more complex, both as ethics issues and as policy issues.

The Center will be at the forefront in addressing emerging ethical issues generated by:

  • Precision medicine
  • New reproductive technologies
  • The neurosciences
  • Whole genome sequencing

We are committed to addressing these issues through public and professional engagement, the sort of inclusive and respectful dialogue worthy of a liberal democratic society. We hope the diversity of our current projects reflect these commitments.

If you have any questions about the Center or its work, don't hesitate to contact me at center @

Leonard Fleck, Acting Director
Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences
Michigan State University