A Code of Ethics for Health Care Ethics Consultants: Journey to the Present and Implications for the Field

The ASBH Clinical Ethics Consultation Affairs Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


For decades a debate has played out in the literature about who bioethicists are, what they do, whether they can be considered professionals qua bioethicists, and, if so, what professional responsibilities they are called to uphold. Health care ethics consultants are bioethicists who work in health care settings. They have been seeking guidance documents that speak to their special relationships/duties toward those they serve. By approving a Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibilities for Health Care Ethics Consultants, the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) has moved the professionalization debate forward in a significant way. This first code of ethics focuses on individuals who provide health care ethics consultation (HCEC) in clinical settings. The evolution of the code's development, implications for the field of HCEC and bioethics, and considerations for future directions are presented here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-51
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Bioethics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 4 2015



  • confidentiality and privacy
  • ethics committees
  • history
  • organizational ethics
  • professional ethics
  • virtues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy

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