Our Conversations

Conversations in Bioethics joins deep, semester-long student engagement with a critical bioethics topic with world-class experts hand-picked for their unique angle on the topic.

Colleagues from around the university and the broader DC bioethics community fill historic Gaston Hall to explore a gallery of student work and meet the students who created it, and to watch distinguished panelists engage in a thoughtful, intimate conversation, shaped by the voices of students, alumni, and other members in the diverse audience who are all invited to participate.


Explore our conversations.

2014: Medical Error

Preventable medical error is a leading cause of death in the US today. In 2015, we took a look at the ethical dimensions of what turns out to be the third-largest killer in the US, just behind heart disease and cancer, speaking with patient safety experts, physicians, and those whose lives had been directly touched by tragic error. Explore »

2015: Personal Genomics

Our genes are an essential part of the story of who we are, and will become. In 2015, we took a look at what that story means, how sure we may be of its details, how much of it we want to hear and how much we may want others to know of it—all part of the Pandora’s box of questions unleashed by the rapid advance of personal genetic technology. Explore »

2016: Making Families

Rarely in our history has the notion of family been so fluid—or so contested. In 2016, we explored the many ways that families can be built in an age of assisted reproductive technology, anonymous sperm donation, increasing acceptance of same-sex relationships, surrogate pregnancy and more. Questions of justice and law arise in relation to some of our most intimate human relationships—and notions of personal identity. Explore »

2017: Disability

This year’s topic celebrates one of the issues at the heart of the KIE story. The Institute was founded in 1971 with support from the Rose and Joseph Kennedy Foundation, inspired in large part by the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to advancing the rights of the disabled. Our conversation will take apart core assumptions about what disability means, and what those notions tell us about common conceptions of ability and normalcy in today’s society. Explore »