National Catholic Bioethics Center

National Catholic Certification Program in Health Care Ethics


The National Catholic Certification Program in Health Care Ethics has been developed at the request of many bishops and administrators of health care facilities to provide a credible and systematic formation so that dioceses, hospitals and ethics committees will have advisors better qualified to apply the Catholic moral tradition to challenging contemporary issues in health care. The part-time, year-long program combines a theoretical component with a practically oriented component based on case studies.


Participants must attend a two-day seminar held in the fall in either Philadelphia, Bismarck or a third city determined each year. Students then interact independently with an instructor through a series of four learning modules over the course of the one-year program of study.

Select Here for More Information and to Register for Bioethics Certification or 2-day seminar»

Dr. Marie Hilliard, RN, PhD, JCL

Dr. Marie Hilliard, RN, PhD, JCL

Bioethics and Public Policy Report

June 2017 – Read Full Report

Bioethics & Public Policy Report June 2017 – Read Full Report »
Bioethics & Public Policy Report March 2017 – Read Full Report »
Bioethics & Public Policy Report June 2016 – Read Full Report »
Bioethics & Public Policy Report March 2016 – Read Full Report »
Bioethics & Public Policy Report January 2016 – Read Full Report »
Bioethics & Public Policy Report November 2015 – Read Full Report »
Bioethics & Public Policy Report September 2015 – Read Full Report »
Bioethics & Public Policy Report April 2015 – Read Full Report »
Bioethics and Public Policy Report November 2014
Bioethics and Public Policy Report May 2014

Zika Does Not Justify Abortion or Contraception

The National Catholic Bioethics Center has done an extensive moral review of the issue of the Zika virus and provides the following moral analysis, available by clicking this link:

Zika Does Not Justify Abortion or Contraception»

NCBC Comments on Proposed VCA Transplant Program

Dr. Marie T. Hilliard, Director of Bioethics and Public Policy for The National Catholic Bioethics Center has submitted public comment on the proposed regulations regarding Membership Requirements for Vascularized Composite Allograft Transplant Programs (VCA Transplant Programs). See: There is significant concern over the proposal to allow for the deliberate mutilation, and creation of a disability in a living donor, who could donate a limb, a face, a larynx and a uterus, as well as other tissue, under the Vascularized Composite Allograft proposals (This is the second of two proposals commented on concerning VCAs; see for comments of December 2014).. A summary of the concerns pertaining to membership requirements of participating hospitals are contained below, addressing the qualifications of the physicians to be involved in such transplantation.. The full public comment is attached.

While The NCBC recognizes attempts at meeting the safety needs through experience and credentialing of the primary physicians and primary surgeons, there are significant gaps to assure public safety, not only of the living donor, but also of the recipient. The NCBC recognizes that there is a paucity of cases from which primary surgeons can garner experience. This can be remedied by limiting approval of such programs to a few regional centers where experiences can be multiplied for surgeons, who can train in such centers, and become adequately credentialed, rather than merely observe organ procurements in order to qualify as a primary surgeon. This is crucial for the wellbeing of the living donor, who has the most to lose, as well as for follow-up for both the donor and recipient. Furthermore, there are no specified credentials specific for the recovery [from the living donor] surgeon. Patients who are living donors have a great deal to lose in terms of mutilation and creating a disability. This must be addressed.
There is virtually no requirement for assuring adequate medical follow-up and safety to protect these persons over time, be they donor or recipient. These are critical flaws that need to be addressed before any approval is given. Furthermore, the larynx transplant programs should be subject to a specific and separate application, including being restricted to deceased donors only.
The NCBC thanks the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network for their very obvious willingness to collaborate with the NCBC in addressing the concerns raised. Any program that involves the medical community in deliberately creating a disability, which living VCA donor-ship clearly creates, needs to be rejected as inconsistent with any medical standards. However, in the absence of being able to achieve this, the strictest standards for donor and recipient wellbeing need to be promulgated. (3/24/2015)

Full Comments»

Free Consultation Services on Bioethical Issues

Available through the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC)

The NCBC offers a free consultation service, by a credentialed bioethicist, who can share with you the Catholic principles for addressing an ethical dilemma involving health care or the life sciences.  If you have a specific time-sensitive question concerning such a matter that cannot wait until regular business hours, please call: (215) 877-266024 hours/day, 7 days/week. Follow the prompts to leave a message and an ethicist will be paged and respond to your call as soon as possible.

If your question is not related to a time sensitive matter please call the same number during regular business hours 9am – 5pm Eastern Time or use the  online Consultation Request Form

NOTE: The National Catholic Bioethics Center (Center) is a non-profit research and educational institute committed to applying the moral teachings of the Catholic Church to ethical issues arising in health care and the life sciences. The Center provides consultations to institutions and individuals seeking its opinion on the appropriate application of Catholic moral teachings to these ethical issues.

Neither the Center’s moral analyses nor any other project of the Center should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal or medical opinion or otherwise to engage in the practice of law or medicine, or other health care disciplines.