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Prof. Gerard Magill

Gerard Magill

Vernon F. Gallagher Chair & Professor
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Healthcare Ethics

Fisher 300
Phone: 412.396.1596


Ph.D., Theology, Edinburgh University, Scotland, 1987
S.T.L., Moral Theology, Gregorian University, Rome, Italy, 1976
S.T.B., Theology, Gregorian University, Rome, Italy, 1974
Ph.B., Philosophy, Gregorian University, Rome, Italy, 1971

Dr. Gerard Magill, Ph.D. holds the Vernon F. Gallagher Chair for the Integration of Science, Theology, Philosophy, and Law and is a tenured Professor in the Center for Healthcare Ethics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.

Dr. Magill received his bachelor degrees in philosophy and in theology as well as his Licentiate degree in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University, Rome, Italy (1969-1976). He received his PhD degree in Theology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 1987.

Between 1976-1996, Dr. Magill held academic appointments in ethics at Drygrange College, Melrose, Scotland, at Loyola University, Chicago, IL, and in the Department of Theology at Saint Louis University. From 1996-2006, Dr. Magill was Department Chair, Executive Director, and a tenured Professor in the Center for Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri. During that time he also held faculty appointments as Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine and as Professor of Health Administration in the School of Public Health. Also, he held an appointment as a Division Director in the Department of Internal Medicine at Saint Louis University Hospital and he was a member of the Faculty Executive Committee for the Center for Business Ethics in the School of Business and Administration at Saint Louis University. And he served on the University's Institutional Review Board for the Health Sciences Campus and the Hospital Ethics Committee.

Dr. Magill's academic expertise and scholarly publications and presentations in bioethics focus upon religious discourse, organizational ethics, clinical ethics & Ethics Committees, and the study of the human genome and stem cell research. He has two books forthcoming: Imagination, Belief and Action: Foundations of Religious Morality; and, Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics (co-authored with David F. Kelly & Henk A.M.J. ten Have). He has published five edited books: Genetics and Ethics: An Interdisciplinary Study (2004); Abortion and Public Policy: An Interdisciplinary Investigation (1996); Values and Public Life: An Interdisciplinary Study (1995); Personality and Belief: Interdisciplinary Essays (1994); Discourse and Context: An Interdisciplinary Study (1993). Also, he has published over seventy academic essays in scholarly or professional journals. He was the lead author of Ethics Consultation Liability (2004), a national report commissioned by the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. From 1999-2006 he was editor of the bioethics journal, Health Care Ethics USA. He has given over two hundred scholarly or professional presentations at conferences and he is an active member of eleven professional associations.

Here is a link to Dr. Magill's page on Amazon..


SAMPLE DOCTORAL COURSES taught by Professor Gerard Magill, Ph.D.


Course Description. 

This course focuses on the presentation and discussion of the assigned readings and the development of the course research essays. The goal is to provide a systematic overview of major topics in the field to inspire excellence in the student's research and writing.

Research Competencies.

Upon completion of the course students should master the following major competences, as should be demonstrated both in class participation and in the course essay:

-      an understanding of major ethical issues that address recent developments in the science of the human genome integrating pluralistic/philosophical and secular/religious perspectives;

-      the capability of presenting in a succinct manner a complex ethical and scientific debate on selected topics in the field;

-      a capacity for argument formation, literature integration, and critical analysis when writing a research essay in the field.

Required Readings for the Course Research Competencies.

Research Competency #1:

-      Ted Peters, Karen Lebacqz, Gaymon Bennett. Sacred Cells?: Why Christians Should Support Stem Cell Research. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010.  

-      Cynthia B. Cohen, Renewing the Stuff of Life. Stem Cells, Ethics, and Public Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Research Competency #2:

-      Ronald Cole-Turner, ed. Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement. Georgetown University Press, 2011. 

-      Allen Buchanan. Beyond Humanity? The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement. Oxford University Press, 2011 

-      Gregory E. Kaebnick, ed. The Ideal of Nature: Debates about Biotechnology and the Environment. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.

Research Competency #3:

-      Stephen Wilkinson, Choosing Tomorrow's Children. The Ethics of Selective Reproduction, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2010.

-      Mary Ann Baily, Thomas H, Murray. Ethics  and Newborn Genetic Screening. New Technologies and Challenges. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.

-      Celia Deane-Drummond, Genetics and Christian Ethics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

-      Jonathan Kimmelman. Gene Transfer and the Ethics of First-in-Human Research. Lost in Translation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

-      Mark A. Bedau, Emily C. Parke, eds. The Ethics of Protocells. Moral and Social Implications of Creating Life in the Laboratory. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Pres, 2009.

-      Martha J. Farah. Ed. Neuroethics. An Introduction with Readings. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Pres, 2010.

-      Eric Racine. Pragmatic Neuroethics. Improving Treatment and Understanding of the Mind-Brain. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Pres, 2010.


Course Description.

This course provides a foundational introduction to Healthcare Ethics and to other doctoral degree courses in the healthcare ethics curriculum. The course presents an analysis of dominant methods in healthcare ethics from historical, systematic, and religious perspectives. Practical issues are engaged to illustrate methodological issues.

Research Competencies.

Upon completion of the course students should master the following major competences, as should be demonstrated both in class participation and in the course essay.

-      Historical Development of HCE Methods. Understand from an historical perspective how normative methods in HCE have developed.

-      HCE Methods of Justification using Norms, Principles & Theories. Understand from a systematic perspective methods of moral justification in HCE using ethical norms, principles & theories.

-      Religious Methods in HCE. Understand how religious approaches constitute distinct methods in HCE.

Required Readings for the Course Research Competencies.

Research Competency #1.

-      Jeremy Sugarman and Daniel P. Sulmasy, ed. Methods in Medical Ethics. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2010.

-      Albert R. Jonsen, The Birth of Bioethics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

-      Albert R. Jonsen, A Short History of Medical Ethics.New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Research Competency #2.

-      Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

-      Bernard Gert, Charles M. Culver, K. Danner Clouser, Bioethics. A Systematic Approach, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford university Press, 2006.

-      Bernard Gert, Common Morality. Deciding What To Do. New York: Oxford university Press, 2007.

Research Competency #3.

-      David F. Kelly, Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics. Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press, 2004.

-      Aaron L. Mackler, Introduction to Jewish and Catholic Bioethics: A Comparative Analysis. Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press, 2003.

-      Robin Gill, Health Care Ethics and Christian Ethics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.


Course Description. The course examines the role of organizational ethics in health care. Business ethics and corporate ethics (with accompanying topics of risk management, compliance, and quality improvement) are included within the description of organizational ethics. The analysis focuses on the integration of clinical, professional, and organizational ethics in health care to foster culturally competent patient-centered care. The study considers relevant standards in the field, such as the Joint Commission's (JCAHO) accreditation standards for hospitals. The concerns that are discussed vary from theoretical issues, relevant principles, and practical topics.

Research Competencies.

Upon completion of the course students should master the following major competences, as should be demonstrated both in class participation and in the course essay.

-      Foundational Analysis. Understand the meaning of organizational moral agency to interpret the foundational relation that organizational ethics has with clinical & professional ethics in health care.

-      Systematic Analysis. Understand the systematic function of the principle of cooperation when addressing organizational complicity in health care.

-      Applied Analysis. Understand the applied ethical significance of organizational systems for patient safety to resolve the practical problem of medical error in health care.

Required Readings for the Course Research Competencies.

Research Competency #1.

-      Edward M. Spencer, et al, Organization Ethics in Health Care. Oxford University Press, 2000.

-      Steven D. Pearson, James E. Sabin, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, No Margin, No Mission. Health Care Organizations and the Quest for Ethical Excellence. Oxford University Press, 2003.

-      David Shore, The Trust Crisis in Health Care. Oxford University Pres, 2007.

Research Competency #2.

-      Christopher Kutz, Complicity. Ethics and Law for a Collective Age. Cambridge University Press, 2000, 2007.

-      Holly Fernandez Lynch, Conflicts of Conscience in Health Care. An Institutional Compromise. MIT Press, 2008.

-      Mary J. McDonough, Can a Health Care Market be Moral? A Catholic Vision. Georgetown University Press, 2007.

Research Competency #3.

-      Bill Runciman et al, Safety and Ethics in Healthcare, Ashgate 2007.

-      Robert Wachter, Understanding Patient Safety, McGraw HIll, 2007.

-      Charles Vincent, Patient Safety, 2nd ed, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.