About Us

The Medical Ethics Program understands medicine to be a vocation—a distinctive calling—primarily oriented toward serving sick and suffering patients for the betterment of individuals and society.

The profession of medicine involves a spirit of service and effacement of self-interest, so as to place the needs of the sick patient at the forefront.

Among healthcare professionals, this requires the cultivation of intellectual and moral virtues and values, including generosity, empathy, compassion, humility, knowledge and practical wisdom, and the dedication to remain worthy of the trust that patients place in us.

Our mission

Our guiding principle is the mission of UC Irvine School of Medicine: Discover. Teach. Heal. We support this mission in the following ways:


Our medical ethics research focuses on the nature of the doctor-patient relationship, and the ways physicians can best develop the character strengths and virtues most conducive to the moral practice of medicine.

We also explore social, cultural and theoretical issues in medical ethics, with an emphasis on “translational” research that brings philosophical or theoretical issues to bear on the actual clinical practice of medicine.


Our program sponsors the required course in Medical Ethics for UC Irvine medical students in their first two years of training, as well as research electives in ethics for fourth-year students. We also support a graduate medical education certificate in medical ethics for residents and fellows. 

The overarching goals of the teaching component are to develop knowledge of applied ethics and ethical theory, as well as the critical thinking skills and the intellectual and moral virtues that enable learners to provide ethical, compassionate and humanistic care for all patients.

The program extends the reach of UC Irvine Health and the School of Medicine as resources for the entire UC system and the community through our symposia, distinguished lectures, and other events for healthcare professionals, scholars and the general public.


Our program activities emphasize closing the gap between academic scholarship in the fields of medical ethics and humanities and their applications to clinical practice. 

We seek to integrate effective methods of learning, reflecting and administering patient-centered care. We focus on clinical initiatives that emphasize care of the whole person in an effort to improve both patient and learner experience.

Questions? Contact Program Coordinator Stefanie Yoshii at or 714-456-6749.