Katherine Wasson, PhD, MPH, HEC-C

  • Professor, Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics,
    Stritch School of Medicine
  • Director, Honors Program in Bioethics & Professionalism

Advanced Degrees

  • 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












Katherine Wasson, PhD, MPH, is a Professor in The Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and the Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago.  Dr. Wasson joined the faculty in July 2008 and is the Director of the Bioethics and Professionalism Honors Program.  Currently, she is on the Board of Directors of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and is the incoming treasurer.  She is also 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. 

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.


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

My Blogs

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.


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.

Bruce CR, Hardart G, Wocial L, Finder SG, Huberman BJ, Jankowski J, Katz AL, Lipman HI, Shaner DM, Sprague S, Wasson K (2017). Addressing Patient-Centered Ethical Issues in Health Care: A Case-based Study Guide.  American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, Chicago, Illinois.


Hutchison PJ, Joshi N, Katherine Wasson. When the Bridge Crumbles: Balancing ECMO-DT with Transplant Program Needs. AJOB 2023; https://doi.org/10.1080/15265161.2023.2201203

Wasson Katherine. “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, Katherine
(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, Katherine
(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) Tool. The American Journal of Bioethics Empirical Research 10(3): 164-72.

Bruce CR, Jankowski J, Chanko B, Cordes A, Huberman BJ, Johnson LM, Kasman D, Katz A, Robinson EM, Wasson K, Hardart G (2018). The Work of ASBH’s Clinical Ethics Consultation Affairs Committee: Development Processes Behind our Educational Materials. The Journal of Clinical Ethics 29(2): 1-8.

Bruce CR, Hardart G, Chanko B, Huberman BJ, Jankowski J, Johnson LM, Kasman D, Robinson EM, Wasson K (2017). Resources for Developing Advanced Skills in Ethics Consultation. American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, Chicago, Illinois

Kuczewski M, Pinkus RL, Wasson, K. An Ethics Casebook for Hospitals: Practical Approaches to Everyday Ethics Consultations, 2nd Ed. Georgetown University Press, 2018.

Wasson K, Kuczewski M, McCarthy M, Parsi K, Anderson EE, Hutchison P. Navigating Clinical Ethics: Using Real Case Constellations to Guide Learners and Teachers in Medicine. Southern Medical Journal 2017; 110(3): 195-99.

Anderson EE, Wasson K. Personal Narratives of Genetic Testing: Expectations, Emotions, and Impact on Self and Family.  Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 2015; 5(3): 229-35.

Wasson K, Anderson E, Hagstrom E, McCarthy M, Parsi K, Kuczewski M. What Ethical Issues Really Arise in Practice at an Academic Medical Center? A Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Clinical Ethics Consultations from 2008 to 2013. HEC Forum 2015;27(3): DOI 10.1007/s10730-015-9293-5.

Hatchett L, Elster N, Wasson K, Anderson L, Parsi K.  Integrating Social Justice for Health Professional Education: Self-Reflection, Advocacy, and Collaborative Learning. Online Journal of Health Ethics 2015; 11(1).

Wasson K, Parsi K, McCarthy M, Sidall VJ, Kuczewski M. Developing an Evaluation Tool for Assessing Clinical Ethics Consultation Skills in Simulation Based Education: The ACES Project. HEC Forum 2015; 27(1): DOI 10.1007/s10730-015-9276-6.

Wasson K, Bading E, Hardt J, Hatchett L, Kuczewski MG, McCarthy M, Michelfelder A, Parsi K.  Physician Know Thyself: The Role of Reflection in Bioethics and Professionalism Education. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 2015; 5(1): 77-86.

Wasson K, Cook ED. The Common Harm in Bioethics and Public Health. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 2014; 14(3): 449-55.

Wasson K, Cherny S, Sanders TN, Hogan NS, Helzlsouer KJ. Who Are You Going to Call? Primary Care Patients' Disclosure Decisions Regarding Direct-to-Consumer Genomic Testing. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 2014; 4(1): 53-68.

Cook ED, Wasson K. The Common Good and Common Harm. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 2013; 13(4): 617-23.

Kuczewski MG, McCarthy MP, Michelfelder A, Anderson E, Wasson K, and Hatchett L. “I will never let that be OK again,” Student Reflections on Competent Spiritual Care for Patients. Academic Medicine 2014; 89(1): 54-9.

Wasson K, Sanders TN, Hogan NS, Cherny S, Helzlsouer KJ. Primary Care Patients' Views and Decisions About Experience and Reactions to Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: A Longitudinal Study. Journal of Community Genetics 2013; 4(4): 495-505.

Leggett J, Wasson K, Sinacore J, Gamelli RL. A Pilot Study of Moral Distress in Nurses Working in One United States Burn Center. Journal of Burn Care and Research 2013; 34(5): 521-8.

Wasson K, Hogan, NS, Sanders TN, Helzlsouer KJ. Primary Care Patients’ Attitudes and Decision-Making Process Regarding Direct-to-Consumer Personalized Genome Testing. American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research 2012; 3(2): 24-35.

Wasson K. Behavioral Equipoise: Is it Ready for Prime Time? American Journal of Bioethics 2011; 11(2):14-6.

Wasson K. Medical and Genetic Enhancements: Ethical issues that Will Not Go Away. American Journal of Bioethics 2011; 11(1): 21-2.

Wasson K. Direct-to-Consumer Genomics: Should a More Robust Informed Consent Process be Included? American Journal of Bioethics 2009; 9(6-7):56-8.