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

Upcoming events:

John McPhee Seminar 2016: What is the point? Bioethics, agitation and ‘getting in the way’
Prof Ian Kerridge

1 August 2016, 12-1pm

This presentation will focus on Harvard University psychologist Prof Steven Pinker's views on The Moral Imperative for Bioethics and open a conversation about the ‘point’ of bioethics. Pinker’s central thesis raises a series of important questions regarding the manner in which bioethics is functioning, the role that it should play – in research, practice, education and policy-making, and whether, in fact, contra Pinker’s anxiety, it is ever ‘in the way.’

Presenter: Ian Kerridge Professor of Bioethics and Medicine at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM) at the University of Sydney, Staff Haematologist/Bone Marrow Transplant physician at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, and founding member of The Clinical Unit in Ethics and Health Law (CUEHL)
For more information please email Camilla Scanlan.

Whose mind is it, anyway? A conversastion about the neuroethics of cognitive ageing
Cynthia Forlini

18 August 2016, 12-1pm

Neuroethics can be used as a lens to examine the ethical and social issues that arise from the recent prioritization of brain health to prevent age-related cognitive decline in the ageing population. Key topics of this seminar will be the role of neurotechnology and the balance of individual responsibility and collective benefits in delaying cognitive ageing.

Presenter: Dr Cynthia Forlini, ARC DECRA Research Fellow at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM)
Venue: Brain and Mind Research Institute, Lecture Theatre, Level 5 Building F 94 Mallett St map
Registration: brainandmind.info@sydney.edu.au
More information can be requested from Ed Hendriks

Tuberculosis: Ethics, Law & Society
TB prevalence world map

18 October 2016, 9am to 5pm

This workshop will explore Tuberculosis from many different perspectives, including ethics, law, human rights, sociology, history and anthropology. Speakers will discuss aspects of their own research and how these are of key relevance to thinking about Tuberculosis today and in the future.
Confirmed speakers include Dr Chris Degeling, Dr Bridget Haire, Susan Hemer, Dr Paul Mason, Nola Ries, A/Prof Diego Silva and Prof Ross Upshur.

Organiser: Prof Angus Dawson and Kelly Prendergast
Venue: Centenary Institute, Missenden Road, Sydney
Registration and more information

Latest Publications

(VELiM authors in bold)

Freire, R., C. J. C. Phillips, J. M. Verrinder, T. Collins, C. Degeling, A. Fawcett, A. D. Fisher, S. Hazel, J. Hood, J. Johnson, J. K. F. Lloyd, K. Stafford, V. Tzioumis and P. D. McGreevy. The Importance of Animal Welfare Science and Ethics to Veterinary Students in Australia and New Zealand. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, published online 21 July 2016. DOI: 10.3138/jvme.1215-191R

Manicomio della Marcigliana

Nicola CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Light E., Robertson M., Kerridge I., Boyce P., Rosen A., Carney T., Hunt G., Cleary M., O’Connor N., Ryan C. How shortcomings in the mental health system affect the use of involuntary community treatment orders. Australian Health Review. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AH16074 Published online 15 July 2016

Carter, SM, C. Degeling, J. Doust and A. Barratt (2016). A definition and ethical evaluation of overdiagnosis. Journal of Medical Ethics. Published Online 8 July 2016 doi:10.1136/medethics-2015-102928

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.

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