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

Tuberculosis: Ethics, Law & Society

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: Dr Chris Degeling, Dr Bridget Haire, Dr Susan Hemer, Dr Paul Mason, Nola Ries, A/Prof Diego Silva and Prof Ross Upshur.

Organisers: Prof Angus Dawson and Kelly Prendergast
Venue: Centenary Institute, Missenden Road, Sydney
Date: 18 October 2016, 9am to 5pm
Attendance is free but registration required via Eventbrite.

Human Rights and Medical Goods Supply Chains: Working towards a healthier future

Dr Mahmood Bhutta speaking at TEDxUCL 2014

Dr Mahmood Bhutta at TEDxUCL 2014, sami_bouremoum, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A panel discussion presented by The Healthy Supply Chains Initiative in partnership with VELiM.
Venue: The Australian Human Rights Commission, Level 3, 175 Pitt St, Sydney
Date: Friday, 9 September 2016, 12 - 1pm
The Healthy Supply Chains Initiative is a group working towards the ethical and responsible supply of medical goods in Australia. At present, many of the goods used in hospitals, clinics and aged care facilities around the country are produced in appalling conditions. Workers are poorly remunerated and routinely deprived of their labour rights and basic human rights. In many instances child labour is being used. The Healthy Supply Chains Initiative aims to enact effective supply chain regulation for medical goods. Precedents in Sweden and the United Kingdom have shown that ethical oversight can be incorporated into workplace procurement policies and government legislation and that making these changes is not only beneficial for the people producing medical goods, but is also low risk and low cost for procurers.
Guest speaker: Dr Mahmood Bhutta
Panel Moderator: Prof Angus Dawson
Please register your attendance with Katherine Moloney. Places are limited. For more information download the event flier.

A/Prof Ainsley Newson wins Sydney Medical School Accelerator Award

A/Prof Ainsley Newson is one of eleven outstanding mid-career teaching and research academics who won the inaugural Sydney Medical School Accelerator Award 2016. The Accelerator scheme provides funding of $50k to contribute to the research costs of projects currently in progress. Congratulations!

PhD Scholarship Opportunity at VELiM

PhD graduate with thumbs up

Sarah Cady, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This scholarship is associated with the NHMRC-funded Centre for Research Excellence Creating sustainable health care: ensuring new diagnostics avoid harms, improve outcomes and direct resources wisely. The successful candidate will develop actionable strategies to better identify and control potentially harmful diagnostic technologies. The PhD research will be completed by publication and will contribute to and be part of Wiser Healthcare, a new national multi-centre research collaboration investigating overdiagnosis and overtreatment.
For more information on this opportunity including selection criteria and application guidelines, please visit Research Scholarships. Closing date: 30 September 2016

Latest Publications

(VELiM authors in bold)

Wortley, S., J. Street, W. Lipworth, K. Howard, H. Dickinson and S. Robinson (2016). What factors determine the choice of public engagement undertaken by health technology assessment decision-making organizations? Journal of Health Organization and Management 30(6).

JENSEN, C., B. PARTRIDGE, C. FORLINI, W. HALL and J. LUCKE (2016). Cognitive Enhancement Down-Under. In: Cognitive Enhancement: Ethical and Policy Implications in International Perspectives, edited by Fabrice Jotterand, Veljko Dubljevic (pp. 147-158). July 2016

Degeling C., Carter SM., Rychetnik L., All care, but whose responsibility? Community juries reason about expert and patient responsibilities in prostate-specific antigen screening for prostate cancer, Health, Published online 3 August 2016.

Newson, A. J. and R. McDougall (2016). Do We Need Ethical Theory to Achieve Quality Critical Engagement in Clinical Ethics? The American Journal of Bioethics 16(9): 43-45. Published online 29 Jul 2016.

doctor working at desk

ILO in Asia and the Pacific, CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 IGO

Arnold, M., I. Kerridge and P. Komesaroff (2016). Watching the Responsibility Clock: Medical Care, Ethics, and Medical Shift Work. American Journal of Bioethics 16(9): 22-24. Published online: 29 Jul 2016

Carter SM, Ethical Aspects of Cancer Screening, Cancer Forum, Volume 40 Number 2, July 2016.

Williams, J., S. Carter and L. Rychetnik (2016). Contested Guideline Development in Australia’s Cervical Screening Program: Values Drive Different Views of the Purpose and Implementation of Organized Screening. Public Health Ethics; published online July 3, 2016.

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

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