Bruce Jennings, M.A.

Adjunct Associate Professor
Health Policy, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society
Office Address
2525 West End Ave
Room / Suite
(615) 875-9913
(615) 936-3800


Bruce Jennings, M.A. is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, and he is Senior Fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature, a nonprofit research center based in Chicago that studies environmental ethics and policy. He comes to Vanderbilt from the Yale University School of Public Health, where he taught ethics from 1996-2014. He also is Senior Advisor at The Hastings Center, where he served from 1991 through 1999 as Executive Director.

In 2011 Mr. Jennings was named Editor-in-Chief of the standard reference work in the field of bioethics: Bioethics, 4th Edition, 6 vols. (Macmillan Reference USA, 2014). Mr. Jennings has been active in the health policy and end of life care arenas and has published widely on ethical issues in hospital treatment decision making, palliative care, and hospice. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and the Board of Trustees of the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State. He served for many years as a member of the hospital ethics committee at the New York Presbyterian Hospital—Cornell and at the Montefiore-New Rochelle Hospital. With Mildred Solomon, he was the co-founder of the “Decisions Near the End of Life” program, an educational and practice change program that was conducted in over 200 hospitals in 20 states from 1990-1996.

He has also been engaged in ethics research and education in the field of public health. In 2003, working with Health Resources and Services Administration and the Association of Schools of Public Health, he coauthored a curriculum on public health ethics designed for both students in university degree programs and in-service public health professionals entitled, Ethics and Public Health: Model Curriculum ( From 2003-2009 he served as member and Chair of the Ethics Advisory Committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For several years he has been active in the ethics section of the American Public Health Association, and in 2010 served as the chair of that group. He is chair of the Bioethics Advisory Committee of the March of Dimes.

A political scientist by training (Yale University BA 1971 and Princeton University MA 1973), he has written and edited 28 books and has published approximately 200 articles on ethics, political theory, and public policy issues. Among his books are Ecological Governance: Toward a New Social Contract with the Earth (West Virginia University Press, 2016); Emergency Ethics: Public Health Preparedness and Response (Oxford University Press, 2016); Regulating Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis in the United States: The Limits of Unlimited Selection. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); Hospice Ethics: Policy and Practice in Palliative Care(Oxford University Press, 2014); The Hastings Center Guidelines for Decisions on Life-Sustaining Treatment and Care Near the End of Life, Revised and Expanded Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 2013); Public Health Ethics: Theory, Policy and Practice (Oxford University Press, 2007); and The Perversion of Autonomy: the Uses of Coercion and Constraints in a Liberal Society, (Georgetown University Press, 2003).

Read more about Bruce Jennings HERE

Research Information


Jennings B, Duncan LL. Water Safety and Lead Regulation: Physicians' Community Health Responsibilities. AMA J Ethics. 2017 Oct 1;19(10):1027-1035. doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2017.19.10.pfor1-1710. PMID: 29028471



Jennings B. The Moral Imagination of De-extinction. Hastings Cent Rep. 2017 Jul;47 Suppl 2:S54-S59. doi: 10.1002/hast.753. PMID: 28746767

Kaebnick GE, Jennings B. De-extinction and Conservation. Hastings Cent Rep. 2017 Jul;47 Suppl 2:S2-S4. doi: 10.1002/hast.744. PMID: 28746761

Jennings B. “Overview of Ethical Issues in Environmental and Occupational Public Health,” in Public Health Ethics: Cases Spanning the Globe, ed. by D. H. Barrett, L. Ortmann, A. Dawson, C. Saenz, A. Reis, and G. Bolan. New York Springer Press, 2016, 177-186. PMID: 28590693

Solomon MZ, Jennings B. Bioethics and Populism: How Should Our Field Respond? Hastings Cent Rep. 2017 Mar;47(2):11-16. doi: 10.1002/hast.684. PMID: 28301694



Jennings B. Right Relation and Right Recognition in Public Health Ethics: Thinking Through the Republic of Health. Public Health Ethics. 2016 Jul;9(2):168-177. PMID: 27551301

Lee LM, Fisher CB, Jennings B. Revising the American Public Health Association's Public Health Code of Ethics. Am J Public Health. 2016 Jul;106(7):1198-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303208. PMID: 27285257

Jennings B. Reconceptualizing Autonomy: A Relational Turn in Bioethics. Hastings Cent Rep. 2016 May;46(3):11-6. doi: 10.1002/hast.544. PMID: 26847836

Jennings B, Dawson A. Solidarity in the Moral Imagination of Bioethics. Hastings Cent Rep. 2015 Sep-Oct;45(5):31-8. doi: 10.1002/hast.490. PMID: 26332108

Jennings B, Morrissey MB. Health care costs in end-of-life and palliative care: the quest for ethical reform. J Soc Work End Life Palliat Care. 2011;7(4):300-17. doi: 10.1080/15524256.2011.623458. PMID: 22150176