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Katherine Wasson, PhD, MPH, HEC-C

Title/s:  Professor
Director, Honors Program in Bioethics & Professionalism

Email: kawasson@luc.edu


Katherine Wasson, PhD, MPH, is a Professor in The Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and the Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago and the Director of the Bioethics and Professionalism Honors Program.  She served on the Board of Directors of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and is currently the treasurer.  She is also a Co-Director of the International Conference on Clinical Ethics Consultation (ICCEC). At Loyola, she teaches in the graduate program, conducts research and has more than 25 years of experience as a clinical ethics consultant.  She is the Chair of the Loyola University Health System Ethics Committee and the ethicist for the National Cancer Institute Central Institutional Review Board for Cancer Prevention and Control.  She also leads the project on Assessing Clinical Ethics Skills (ACES) Tool for clinical ethics consultants developed at Loyola.

Dr. Wasson was a Fellow in The Ethics of Prevention and Public Health in the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program at The National Cancer Institute and a Visiting Researcher at The Kennedy Institute for Ethics, Georgetown University. She was Chief of the Clinical Ethics Service and Assistant Professor in the Department of Critical Care at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and The University of Texas and worked as a clinical ethicist with a National Health Service palliative care team in central London.

Dr. Wasson’s scholarship focuses on training and assessing the skills of clinical ethics consultants.  Her empirical research includes documentation of ethical issues by internal medicine residents, a study of primary care patients’ views and decision-making considerations about direct-to-consumer genome testing, moral distress in burn intensive care nurses, and experiences of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) medical students. 




  • MPH, Master in Public Health (2003): John Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
  • PhD, Doctorate in Philosophy(1998): The Whitefield Institute, Oxford and The Open University, UK

Research Interests

Evaluation in Clinical Ethics Consultation, skills training for ethics consultants, quality assessment and improvement in clinical ethics consultation, end-of-life issues, moral distress, genetics/genomics, reflection in medical education, and moral decision making.

Courses Taught

  • BEHL 401 Clinical Topics in Bioethics
  • BEHL 410 Ethics Consultation Seminar
  • BEHL 430 Advanced Clinical Ethics Skills
  • BEHL 491 Mastering Clinical Ethics Consultation Skills

Selected Publications


  • Wasson K and Kuczewski M (eds) (2022). Thorny Issues in Clinical Ethics Consultation: North American and European Perspectives. Springer Nature, Switzerland. 
  • Kuczewski M, Pinkus, RL, Wasson K (2018).  An Ethics Casebook for Hospitals: Practical Approaches for Everyday Ethics Consultations, 2nd. Georgetown University Press, Washington DC.


  • Hutchison PJ, Joshi N, Wasson K. When the Bridge Crumbles: Balancing ECMO-DT with Transplant Program Needs. AJOB 2023; https://doi.org/10.1080/15265161.2023.2201203
  • Wasson K “Models of Training for Clinical Ethics Consultants and Approaches to Quality Assessment and Improvement,” in Thorny Issues in Clinical Ethics Consultation: North American and European Perspectives, Wasson K and Kuczewski M (eds). Springer Nature, Switzerland, 2022. 
  • Wasson K (2022). “Quality Assessment of Healthcare Ethics Committees,” in Guidance for Healthcare Ethics Committees, 2nd ed., edited by D. Micah Hester and Toby Schonfeld. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, England. 
  • Wasson K (2021)“Professionalizing Clinical Ethics Consultation: Training to encounter human suffering via the Assessing Clinical Ethics Skills tool,” in Suffering in Theology and Medical Ethics, edited by Christoph Mandry. Schöningh: Paderborn.  
  • Kuczewski M, Wasson K, Hutchison P, Dilling D. Putting Ethics and Clinical Decision Making before Politics: Requiring COVID-19 Immunization for Solid Organ Transplantation (SOT) Candidates and Their Support Team. Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 41(1)17-19 Published October 21, 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healun.2021.10.001
  • Wasson, K (in press). “Quality Assessment of Healthcare Ethics Committees,” in Guidance for Healthcare Ethics Committees, 2nd ed., DM Hester and T Schonfeld (eds.). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, England.
  • Wasson K. (2020) "Quality Standards for Ethics Consultation," in Catholic Health Care Ethics: A Manual for Practitioners, 3rd ed., B Gremmels and M Kenney (eds.). The National Catholic Bioethics Center: Philadelphia, PA.
  • Wasson K. (2020) "Certification Assesses Minimal Competency for Healthcare Ethics Consultants: What About Assessing Interpersonal Skills?" AJOB 20(3): 27-29.
  • Wasson K, Chaidez C, Hatchett L, Garcia Manrique B, Garcia Nieto E, Kuczewski MG. (2019) "We have a lot of power...": A Medical School's Journey Through Its New Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Initiative. Cureus 11(10): e6037. doi: 10.7759/cureus.6037
  • Wasson, K, Adams WH, Berkowitz K, Danis M, Derse AR, Kuczewski MG, McCarthy M, Parsi K, Tarzian A. (2019) What is the Minimal Competency for a Clinical Ethics Consult Simulation? Setting a Standard for Use of the Assessing Clinical Ethics Skills (ACES) ToolThe American Journal of Bioethics Empirical Research 10(3): 164-72.


  • Quiet Quitting Undermines Human Flourishing. The Hastings Center Bioethics Forum Essay, January 30, 2023.
  • Rugged American Individualism is a Myth, and it is Killing Us. The Hastings Center Bioethics Forum Essay, June 4, 2021.