Michael J Deem

  • Associate Professor and Director, Consortium Ethics Program, Department of Medicine
  • Faculty in Human Genetics and Center for Bioethics & Health Law
  • Resident Fellow, Center for Philosophy of Science

Michael Deem joined the faculty of University of Pittsburgh in Fall 2021. He completed a PhD in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, and the Pediatric Ethics and Genomics Fellowship at Children's Mercy Hospital.

Dr. Deem's primary research interests lie in bioethics (especially pediatric ethics and ethical issues in genetics/genomic medicine), philosophy of biology and medicine, and public health ethics. Having taught ethics to genetic counseling, nursing, and medical students for several years, he also pursues research on interprofessional ethics education.

Dr. Deem teaches in the Center for Bioethics & Health Law's Master of Arts in Bioethics program, teaches graduate ethics courses for the Department of Human Genetics' MS Genetic Counseling and MPH in Public Health Genetics programs, teaches undergraduate ethics courses for the Rehabilitation Science program (School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences), and directs Pitt's Consortium Ethics Program.


2016 | Children's Mercy Hospital | Pediatric Ethics and Genomics Fellowship
2015 | University of Notre Dame | PhD, Philosophy
2009 | Texas A&M University | MA, Philosophy
2005 | Saint Louis University | MA, Historical Theology
2003 | Franciscan University of Steubenville | BA, Philosophy and Theology


Course Director/Instructor of Record
- Philosophy of Medicine
HUGEN 2052 - Ethical Issues in Clinical and Public Health Genetics
PUBHLT 0500 - Ethics in Public and Community Health
REHSCI 1230 - Rehabilitation Ethics

MSCMP 3790 - Basics of Personalized Medicine
OBGYN 5341 - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Search for students' electronic thesis and dissertations

Selected Publications

Deem MJ.Conceptual Issues in Genomic Medicine. Cambridge University Press. (under contract)
Deem MJ, Farrow EG, Grubs RE (eds.).The Oxford Handbook of Genetic Counseling. Oxford University Press (under contract)

Deem MJ, Lingler JH (eds.)Nursing Ethics: Normative Foundations, Advanced Concepts, and Emerging Issues. Oxford University Press (under contract)

Peer-Reviewed Articles
Ramsey G, Deem MJ (2022). Empathy and the evolutionary emergence of guilt.Philosophy of Science. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/psa.2021.36

Deem MJ, Kronk RA, Staggs VS, Lucas D (2020). Nurses’ perspectives on the dismissal of vaccine-refusing families from pediatric and family care practices.American Journal of Health Promotion 34(6): 622-632.

Nold L,Deem MJ (2020). A simulation experience for preparing nurses to address refusal of childhood vaccines.Journal of Nursing Education 59(4): 222-226.

Navin MC, Kozak AT,Deem MJ (2020). Perspectives of public health nurses on the ethics of mandated vaccine education.Nursing Outlook. 68(1): 62-72.

Deem MJ, Stephen JM (2020). Do a surrogate decision-maker’s reasons matter?Nursing 50(2): 16-18.

Baumgartel KL,Deem MJ (2019). Promoting the use of pasteurized human donor milk in the NICU.Nursing 49(12): 11-13.

Deem MJ, Stokes F (2019). Culture and consent in clinical care: A critical review of nursing and nursing ethics literature.Annual Review of Nursing Research. 37(1): 223-259.

Deem, MJ (2018). Nurses’ voices matter for decisions about dismissing vaccine-refusing families.American Journal of Nursing 118(8): 11.
Deem MJ, Navin MC, Lantos, JD (2018). Considering whether the dismissal of vaccine-refusing families is fair to other clinicians.JAMA Pediatrics 172(6): 515-516.

Deem MJ (2018). A flaw in the Stich-Plantinga challenge to evolutionary reliabilism.Analysis 78(2): 216-225.

Deem MJ (2017). Responding to parents who refuse childhood immunizations.Nursing 47(12): 11-14.

Char DS, Lázaro-Muñoz G, Barnes A, Magnus D, Deem MJ, Lantos JD (2017). Genomic contraindications for heart transplantation.” Pediatrics 139(4): e20163471.

Dai H,Deem MJ, Hao J (2017). Geographic variations in electronic cigarette advertisements on Twitter in the United States.International Journal of Public Health 62(4): 479-487.

Deem MJ (2016). Dehorning the Darwinian dilemma for normative realism.Biology and Philosophy. 31(5): 727-746.

Deem MJ, Ramsey G (2016). Guilt by association?Philosophical Psychology. 29(4): 570-585.

Deem MJ (2016). Whole genome sequencing and disability in the NICU: Exploring practical and ethical challenges.Pediatrics. 137(S1): S47-S55.

Book Chapters
Deem MJ
(under contract). Why an ethics of care needs ethical principles. In Deem MJ, Lingler JH (eds.),Nursing Ethics: Normative Foundations, Advanced Concepts, and Emerging Issues. Oxford University Press.

Deem MJ (under contract). Respect for autonomy: Privacy, confidentiality, and nondirectiveness in genetic counseling. In Deem MJ, Farrow EG, Grubs RE (eds.),The Oxford Handbook of Genetic Counseling.Oxford University Press.

Deem MJ, Vogelstein E, Glasgow MES (2020). Integrating ethics across the curricula: Innovations in undergraduate and graduate nursing education. In E. Emerson & C. M. Alfes (eds.),Innovative Strategies in Teaching Nursing, 59-67. Springer Publishing.

Deem MJ (2017). Vulnerability in genetic counseling and the ground of nondirectiveness. In Straehle C (ed.),Vulnerability, Autonomy, and Applied Ethics (pp. 138-156). Routledge.

Deem MJ, Ramsey G (2016), The evolutionary puzzle of guilt: Individual or group selection? In Scarantino A (ed.),The Emotion Researcher, ISRE’s Sourcebook for Research on Emotion and Affect.