Welcome New Faculty Members
By: Emily Watters
OSU’s Center for Bioethics is at an exciting stage of growth. Over the past several years, its education programs have seen significant, sustained upward trends in enrollment. To meet the needs of its growing and diverse student body, the Center is pleased to announce the addition of three new faculty members: Professor Martin Fitzgerald, PhD(c), Dr. Abraham Graber, PhD, and Dr. Naomi Scheinerman, PhD. The Center for Bioethics has made itself known for its commitment to diverse thought and discussion that fosters an environment conducive to collaborative research, education, and clinical service. The new faculty exemplify this as they all have unique research interests and come from different educational backgrounds. Says Courtney Thiele, Director of the Bioethics Graduate Programs, “We are so thrilled to welcome three new faculty members. As our programs continue to grow, we are excited for our faculty membership to grow and expand into new areas of focus including: neuroethics, disability ethics, and bioethics and deliberative democracy. Each of our new faculty members is a joy to know and work with and I am so happy for students to engage with them, as well.”
Martin Fitzgerald, PhD(c)
Instructor of Bioethics
Martin Fitzgerald joined the Division of Bioethics faculty in August 2022 as a tenure-track Instructor of Bioethics. He received his MA in Philosophy from Duquesne University after completing a dual BS in Chemical Engineering and Philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is currently completing his PhD in Philosophy and Bioethics at St. Louis University. Professor Fitzgerald’s interdisciplinary educational background shaped his decision to join OSU, as he was drawn to the way the Center for Bioethics incorporates thoughts and ideals from many different subjects. In his own words, “I am a philosopher by training, and I bring a philosopher’s mindset to bioethics. However, I recognize that neither philosophy nor another discipline should be given the loudest voice at the table. I think OSU’s Center for Bioethics gets this right. The balance makes for interesting scholarship and a good educational presence as well.”
Fitzgerald currently teaches undergraduate research ethics and recently developed a new graduate course in Neuroethics, in addition to mentoring graduate students. Professor Fitzgerald has found that although the initial size of Ohio State may seem daunting, it is possible to make the big school seem small. He has found that students, faculty, and staff alike have all been very welcoming and supportive during his time here thus far. In the future, Professor Fitzgerald would like to continue his work with human-animal chimeras and forge connections with other departments on campus to foster interesting discourses about bioethics.
Abraham Graber, PhD
Associate Professor of Bioethics
Dr. Abraham Graber also comes from a background in philosophy. He received both his MA and PhD in Philosophy from the University of Iowa and taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio before joining the Division of Bioethics in January 2023 as an Associate Professor of Bioethics. Graber will serve as the Assistant Director of the Bioethics Undergraduate Minor, as well as teach and advise at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
One of the reasons Dr. Graber was drawn to Ohio State is the Center for Bioethics’ location in the College of Medicine, which he hopes will let him put bioethics into practice. In addition to teaching, Dr. Graber is conducting research in collaboration with the Nisonger Center. Dr. Graber’s primary interest is disability ethics, and the Nisonger Center is one of the foremost centers in the country for wrap-around support for people with developmental disabilities. While Dr. Graber is here, he would like to raise awareness for the many ethical considerations that arise when caring for individuals with developmental disabilities. He stresses that advancing this area of study will “help the bioethics community recognize that these issues are of deep importance and, when taken seriously, can challenge many of the assumptions that underlie contemporary bioethics.” He is working to accomplish this through his research and by developing a graduate course in disability ethics. Dr. Graber made special note of the warm welcome the community has given him.
Naomi Scheinerman, PhD
Assistant Professor of Bioethics
Dr. Naomi Scheinerman will join the Division of Bioethics as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Bioethics in July 2023. Dr. Scheinerman earned a PhD in Political Science from Yale University after completing her bachelor’s in philosophy and political science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is currently a postdoctoral Fellow in Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Genetics and Genomics at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy. At the University of Pennsylvania, her current project seeks to identify, moralize, and prescribe solutions to the problem of exploitation across different fields.
Like Fitzgerald and Graber, Dr. Scheinerman was drawn to the friendly and welcoming community of faculty and students at OSU. Additionally, she was drawn to the Center’s push to make bioethics as interdisciplinary as possible. Dr. Scheinerman’s background is in political theory with a focus on democratic theory, and she hopes to continue her research in institutional decision-making in matters of science, technology, and medicine. She says, “I am eager to continue exploring the enduring questions in the world of bioethics with people in different walks of life and who have divergent experiences of the world. Cultivating a space where we can unearth our underlying values and learn from one another is my most important and enriching goal for next year.”
From groundbreaking research to innovative pedagogy, all three demonstrate a deep passion for their fields. They are exceedingly dedicated to advancing knowledge and shaping the future of bioethics. It is an honor to have such distinguished scholars as part of the Center.
Emily Watters is a Bioethics Student Assistant at the Center. Emily is a third-year microbiology major with a minor in bioethics. She primarily assists in course support and ongoing projects.
Photo credit: Sara Rahman, 2023