Illustrative image for New Resource The Hastings Center Bioethics Timeline

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New Resource: The Hastings Center Bioethics Timeline

From AIDS to Covid-19, how have pandemics and epidemics shaped health policy and bedside decision-making? How have major medical societies’ statements on discrimination and racial justice evolved over the decades? Which landmark court cases helped establish patients’ rights?

These are some of the major historical and societal questions that can be explored in a new, free, one-of-a-kind online educational resource: The Hastings Center Bioethics Timeline. It is designed for use by a broad audience including students from high school to professional schools, journalists, clinicians, and scholars. Among the 32 searchable topics are advance care planning, disability rights, genomics and ethics, human enhancement, medical aid in dying, sexual and gender ethics, social justice, and technology.

Bioethics, the interdisciplinary study of ethical, legal, and social issues arising in the life science and health care, has helped transform the practice of medicine and inform policy-making about myriad issues concerning the life sciences, from public health and the delivery of care to biotechnology.

The timeline was created by a committee of scholars drawn from The Hastings Center fellows. “It is a useful starting point in understanding bioethics—how and when it emerged, the issues it has taken on, the arc of thinking within it, and some of its major contributors,” they state in the introduction.

The timeline commemorates the 50th anniversary of The Hastings Center, which was founded in 1969, the time when modern bioethics is widely held to have arisen. The timeline will be updated periodically.

Learn more about the timeline committee and search The Hastings Center Bioethics Timeline.