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    Nancy Berlinger, Research Scholar

    (845) 424-4040 x210 CV

    Nancy Berlinger focuses on ethical challenges in health care work and on related health and social policy challenges in the United States and internationally.

    Her special interests include societal challenges arising from population aging and age-related chronic illness; treatment decision-making and care for seriously ill people and near the end of life; health care access and social integration for migrants; and the ethics of managing safety and harm in health care systems.

    She co-directs a grant-funded planning process to develop a social ethics framework for population aging, looking at societal challenges not limited to health care, which can guide future work in bioethics. Her recent projects include a collaboration with the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) to create a new primary palliative care process and practice standard for frontline hospital clinicians to improve communication about serious illness. This translational project builds on her leadership of the 2013 edition of the landmark Hastings Center Guidelines on treatment decision-making and care near the end of life. With colleagues at the National University of Singapore, The Ethox Centre of the University of Oxford, and The Hastings Center, she has co-developed the Singapore Bioethics Casebook as an innovative tool for professional and public learning.

    She co-founded and co-directs The Hastings Center’s Undocumented Patients project, which maintains a web-based knowledge hub used by clinicians, scholars, students, journalists, and policymakers and has developed policy recommendations for improved city-level solutions in New York City. She also directs The Hastings Center’s Visiting Scholar program

    Her current and recent public service includes the bioethics committee of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Initiative on Cancer Diagnostics in Sub-Saharan Africa (2015 – present), the ActionHealthNYC Community Advisory Panel, City of New York (2016 – 2017), and the Care and Coverage Subgroup of the New York City Mayor’s Task Force on Immigrant Health Access (2014 – 2015). She serves on the Bioethics Committee at Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx, NY) and is a frequent participant in Montefiore’s Ethics Review Committee process for hospice access for patients alone at the end of life. She teaches an interdisciplinary course on migration at Lehman College, City University of New York, Departments of English and Sociology. In June 2018, she was a practitioner fellow at the Bellagio Center of the Rockefeller Foundation.

    She is a graduate of Smith College and earned a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Glasgow. She received a M.Div., with a focus on ethics, from Union Theological Seminary.


    Think Progress on the good and the bad of Silicon Valley billionaires funding medical research

    Stat News on ethical implications of steep price increase of aid-in-dying medicine

    New York Times on doctors behaving badly

    NPR’s “To the Point” on trusting doctors to teach tomorrow’s doctors ethical behavior

    Politico on California proposal to allow undocumented immigrants to purchase health insurance


    Nancy Berlinger, Are Workarounds Ethical? Managing Moral Problems in Health Care Systems, Oxford University Press, 2016.

    Jacqueline J. Chin, Nancy Berlinger, Michael C. Dunn, Calvin W.L. Ho, and  Michael K. Gusmano, eds., Making Difficult Decisions with Patients and Families: A Singapore Bioethics Casebook, Volume I (NUS, January 2014); Jacqueline J. Chin, Nancy Berlinger, Michael C. Dunn, and Michael K. Gusmano, eds. Caring for Older People in an Ageing Society: A Singapore Bioethics Casebook, Volume II (NUS, May 2017).

    Nancy Berlinger, Bruce Jennings, and Susan M. Wolf, The Hastings Center Guidelines for Decisions on Life-Sustaining Treatment and Care Near the End of Life, Oxford University Press, 2013.

    Nancy Berlinger, After Harm: Medical Error and the Ethics of Forgiveness, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.


    Nancy Berlinger, “More Than Just Sanctuary, Migrants Need Social Citizenship,” Aeon (August 29, 2017)

    Lilia Cervantes, Stacy Fischer, Nancy Berlinger, et al, “The Illness Experience of Undocumented Immigrants with End-stage Renal Disease,” JAMA Internal Medicine177, no. 4 (2017): 529-535

    Nancy Berlinger and Annalise Berlinger, “Culture and Moral Distress: What’s the Connection and Why Does It Matter?,” AMA Journal of Ethics 19, no. 6 (2017):608-616.

    Nancy Berlinger and Elizabeth Dietz, “Time-out: The Professional and Organizational Ethics of Speaking Up in the OR,” AMA Journal of Ethics 18, no. 9 (2016): 925-932.

    Jacob Moses, Nancy Berlinger, Michael C. Dunn, Michael K. Gusmano, and Jacqueline J. Chin, “Bioethics Casebook 2.0: Using Web-Based Design and Tools to Promote Ethical Reflection and Practice in Health Care,” Hastings Center Report 45, no. 6 (2015): 19-25.

    Susan M. Wolf, Nancy Berlinger, and Bruce Jennings, “Forty Years of Work on End-of-Life Care – From Patients’ Rights to Systemic Reform,” New England Journal of Medicine 372; 7 (2015): 678-82.

    Nancy Berlinger, Raymond Barfield, and Alan R. Fleischman, Facing Persistent Challenges in Pediatric Decision-Making: New Hastings Center Guidelines,”Pediatrics 132:5 (2013): 789-91

    Nancy Berlinger and Rajeev Raghavan, “The Ethics of Advocacy for Undocumented Patients,” Hastings Center Report 43, no.1 (2013): 14-17.


    Nancy Berlinger, “Workarounds Are Routinely Used by Nurses – But Are They Ethical?”, American Journal of Nursing 117, no. 10 (October 2017): 53-55.

    Nancy Berlinger and Michael Gusmano, “Fair Care” (The Mail), The New Yorker, May 23, 2016.

    Nancy Berlinger, “Get With the Program” (The Mail), The New Yorker, August, 24, 2015.

    Mildred Z. Solomon and Nancy Berlinger, “Seizing a Medicare Moment to Improve End-of-Life Care,” Time, July 31, 2015.

    Nancy Berlinger, “Alzheimer’s Disease, Biomarkers, and Suicide: Why We Need to Think About All Three Together,” Braingenethics, June 2014.


    Wendy G Anderson, Nancy Berlinger, Julia Ragland, et. al, “Hospital-Based Prognosis and Goals of Care Discussions with Seriously Ill Patients: A Pathway to Integrate a Key Primary Palliative Care Process into the Workflow of Hospitalist Physicians and their Teams.” Society of Hospital Medicine and The Hastings Center, 2017.

    LT Braun, KL Grady, JS Kutner, E Adler, N Berlinger, et al., “Palliative Care and Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke: A Policy Statement from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association,” Circulation. Published online before print August 8, 2016

    Nancy Berlinger, Claudia Calhoon, Michael K Gusmano, and Jackie Vimo, “Undocumented Patients and Access to Health Care in New York City: Identifying Fair, Effective, and Sustainable Local Policy Solutions: Report and Recommendations to the Office of the Mayor of New York City,” The Hastings Center and the New York Immigration Coalition, April 2015.

    Nancy Berlinger and Jacob Moses, “The Five People You Meet in a Pandemic – and What They Need From You Today,” The Hastings Center, November 2007; selected for inclusion in “Promising Practices: Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Tools,” a peer-reviewed database maintained by CIDRAP and the Pew Center on the States.