Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine


The Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM) is a research and teaching centre within the School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney.

Since our establishment in 1995, we have become one of the largest bioethics centres in Australia and internationally.

the VELiM team

Our team includes academics, research fellows and research students working on a wide range of ethical issues. These include public health ethics, clinical ethics, research ethics, animal ethics, the ethics of biotechnology including genetic technology and genomics, and the ethics of drug policy and development.

VELiM also has a long history of conducting empirical social science research, often informed by and informing ethical questions. We have a thriving program of empirical and theoretical research funded by the NHMRC, ARC and other sources.

We teach two postgraduate coursework programs, Qualitative Health Research (until 2015) and Bioethics (ongoing).

Latest News & Events

Sydney Ideas in May:

Defending the Aussie Mozzie

17 May 2016, 6pm
The Marie Bashir Institute in partnership with the Human Animal Research Network presented a panel discussion on issues relating to the recent Zika outbreak and relevant broader, contextual features of human-mosquito relations. Questions of interest included: Is Zika a threat in Australia? What other threats are there to human health from mosquito-borne disease? Why are such threats growing rather than receding? What do we know about how human behaviour influences mosquitoes, and vice-versa? - Discussion moderated by Chris Degeling, Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine.

Is Too Much Testing and Treatment Making us Sick?
Lab photo

30 May 2016, 6pm:
Sydney Ideas in partnership with the Sydney School of Public Health presented a panel discussion on modern medical tests - imaging, biomarkers and genetic tests. Done in the right way at the right time, they can be lifesaving, and in the past often have been. But might they have become too good? Could some tests now be leading too much diagnosis and too much treatment? If so, what’s driving this? What might the consequences be for individual citizens, patients, their families and health care systems? And how can we fix it?
More information

Latest Publications

(VELiM authors in bold)

Guy RJ, Micallef JM, Mooney-Somers J, Jamil MS, Harvey C, Bateson D, van Gemert C, Wand H, Kaldor J. Evaluation of Chlamydia Partner Notification Practices and Use of the “Let Them Know” Website by Family Planning Clinicians in Australia: Cross-Sectional Study. J Med Internet Res 2016;18(6):e173. Published 24 June 2016.

Doran E, Kerridge I, Jordens C, Newson AJ. Clinical Ethics Support in Contemporary Health Care. In: The Oxford Handbook of Health Care Management. Ferlie E., Montgomery K., Reff Pedersen A. (Eds.). Oxford University Press, 7 Apr. 2016 Apr 7:164-187.

Medicines in hand and on table

jarmoluk, CCO Public Domain

Jansen J, Naganathan V, Carter SM, McLachlan A, Nickel B, Irwig L, Bonner C, Doust J, Heaney A, Turner R, McCaffery K. Too Much Medicine in older people? Deprescribing through Shared Decision Making. BMJ (online) 353:i2893, DOI: 10.1136/bmj.i2893 (Published 03 June 2016)

Newson A. J., Schonstein L., Genomic Testing in The Paediatric Population: Ethical Considerations in Light of Recent Policy Statements, Molecular Diagnosis & Therapy. Published online: 01 June 2016

Nicholls, S. G., Newson, A. J., & Ashcroft, R. E. (2016). The need for ethics as well as evidence in evidence-based medicine. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. Published Online: 31 May 2016.

Dawson A., Snakes and ladders: state interventions and the place of liberty in public health policy, J Med Ethics, doi:10.1136/medethics-2016-103502. Published online 23 May 2016

Gallagher S., Little M. Doctors on Values and Advocacy: A Qualitative and Evaluative Study. Health Care Analysis. 1-16, doi:10.1007/s10728-016-0322-6.

dog park

Brent Moore, CC BY 2.0

Rock MJ, Degeling C, Graham TM, Toohey AM, Rault D, McCormack GR. Public engagement and community participation in governing urban parks: a case study in changing and implementing a policy addressing off-leash dogs. Critical Public Health. 2016 May 6:1-4.

Scanlan C. Is Anticipated Consent an Acceptable Model for a Unique Cohort of Research Participants? Commentary on Case Study of Scabies in Nursing Homes, Public Health Ethics 2016; doi: 10.1093/phe/phw022.

Lewis, P. and Mooney-Somers, J. (2016), Parenthood in young cancer survivors is more than a combination of motivation and capacity (Letter to the Editor). European Journal of Cancer Care, 25(3): 524–525; doi: 10.1111/ecc.12409.

Scanlan C, Stewart C, Kerridge I. Decision Making in the Shadow of Death, The American Journal of Bioethics 16(5):23-24, May 2016, DOI: 10.1080/15265161.2016.1161404.

Pickles, K., Carter SM, Rychetnik L, McCaffery K, Entwistle V. General Practitioners’ Experiences of, and Responses to, Uncertainty in Prostate Cancer Screening: Insights from a Qualitative Study, PLoS One.

 Mitochondria with crystalline inclusions

Mike Kayser, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Newson, A. J., Wilkinson, S., & Wrigley, A. (2016). Ethical and legal issues in mitochondrial transfer. EMBO Molecular Medicine, e201606281. DOI 10.15252/emmm.201606281.

Parker LM, Carter SM, The Role of Socially Embedded Concepts in Breast Cancer Screening: An Empirical Study with Australian Experts. Public Health Ethics (2016) doi: 10.1093/phe/phw012.

Barrett DH, Ortmann LW, Dawson A, Saenz C, Reis A, Bolan G (Eds.). Public Health Ethics: Cases Spanning the Globe, ISBN 978-3-319-23846-3, ISBN 978-3-319-23847-0 (eBook), DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-23847-0, Springer Open.

Rock M, Degeling C. Toward “One Health” Promotion. Chapter 3 (pp. 68-82) In: A Companion to the Anthropology of Environmental Health, Merrill Singer (Ed.), John Wiley & Sons, April 2016

☛ Visit the VELIM-COLLECTION OF THE SYDNEY E-SCHOLARSHIP REPOSITORY for freely accessible publication fulltexts.