Photo of Dr. Michael Deem

Michael J. Deem, PhD

Assistant Professor
School of Nursing and
Center for Healthcare Ethics

Libermann Hall 808
Phone: 412.396.1441


Pediatric Ethics and Genomics Fellowship, Children’s Mercy Hospital
Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
M.A., Philosophy, Texas A&M University
B.A., Franciscan University of Steubenville

Dr. Michael Deem joined the Duquesne University faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2017, holding a joint appointment in the School of Nursing and the Center for Healthcare Ethics. His main areas of research are bioethics, philosophy of biology and medicine, and public health ethics.

Dr. Deem completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame in 2015 and a M.A. in Philosophy from Texas A&M University in 2009. He then served as the 2015-16 Pediatric Ethics and Genomics Fellow at Children's Mercy Hospital, where he worked with the Center for Bioethics and Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine on a NIH-funded study of the clinical use of rapid whole-genome sequencing in the neonatal intensive care unit. Additionally, through the Children's Mercy Division of Clinical Genetics he accrued over 100 observation hours in genetic counseling at Children's Mercy Hospital, Midwest Perinatal Associates, and The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

Dr. Deem's additional clinical training includes completion of the Children's Mercy Hospital Pediatric Bioethics Certificate, the MedStar Washington Hospital Clinical Ethics Immersion, and the Center for Conflict Resolution in Healthcare's Conflict Resolution and Clinical-Setting Mediation Training for Healthcare.

At Duquesne, Dr. Deem teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in nursing and healthcare ethics. Prior to his arrival at Duquesne, he was an Assistant Professor at Indiana State University, where he taught bioethics and philosophy courses in the Philosophy program and The Center for Genomic Advocacy. He has also taught philosophy and bioethics courses at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana University South Bend, and Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.

Dr. Deem is an affiliate faculty member of the M.S. Genetic Counseling Program at Indiana State University and a subject faculty member of the Certificate Program in Pediatric Bioethics at Children's Mercy Hospital. He also participates on the hospital ethics committees at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, UPMC Presbyterian, and UPMC Shadyside.

  • Ethical and conceptual issues in genetic/genomic medicine
  • Neonatal and pediatric ethics
  • Public health ethics
  • Justice in health care and public health
  • Catholic bioethics
  • Philosophy of biology and medicine

Research Studies:

Nurses' Perspectives on Patient Dismissal after Parental Refusal of Recommended Childhood Immunizations, Principal Investigator

Clinical and Social Implications of 2-day Genome Results in Acutely III Newborns (NIH RFA-HD-13-010 & PAR-13-203), Research Staff

Research interests:

Healthcare Ethics:

  • Genetic Counseling and Genomic Medicine
  • Neonatal and Pediatric Care
  • Nursing Practice
  • Justice and Vulnerable Populations

Philosophy of Biology and Medicine:

  • Conceptual Issues in Genetic Medicine
  • Medical Epistemology
  • Implications of the Biological Sciences for Ethical Theory and Moral Psychology

Public Health Ethics:

  • Newborn Screening
  • Immunizations


M. J. Deem. Conceptual Issues in Genomic Medicine. Cambridge University Press. (under contract)

Edited Volumes
M. J. Deem & J. H. Lingler (eds.). Nursing Ethics: Normative Foundations, Advanced Concepts, and Emerging Issues. Oxford University Press. (under contract)

M. J. Deem, E. G. Farrow, & R. E. Grubs (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Genetic Counseling. Oxford University Press (under contract)

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

M. J. Deem & F. Stokes (2019). "Culture and Consent in Clinical Care: A Critical Review of Nursing and Nursing Ethics Literature." Annual Review of Nursing Research 37: 207-242.

M. J. Deem, M. C. Navin, & J. D. Lantos (2018). "The Risks of Dismissal - A Reply to Marshall and O'Leary." JAMA Pediatrics. 172(11): 1101-1102.

Deem, M. J. (2018). "Nurses' Voices Matter for Decisions about Dismissing Vaccine-Refusing Families." American Journal of Nursing.118(8): 11.

Deem, M. J., Navin, M. C., Lantos, J. D. (in press). "Considering Whether the Dismissal of Vaccine-Refusing Families is Fair to Other Clinicians." JAMA Pediatrics. 172(6): 515-516.

Deem, M.J. (2018). A Flaw in the Stich-Plantinga Challenge to Evolutionary Reliabilism. Analysis. 78(2): 216-225

Deem, M.J. (2017). Responding to Parents Who Refuse Childhood Immunizations. Nursing. 47(12): 11-14

Char, D.S., Lázaro-Muñoz, G., Barnes, A., Magnus, D., Deem, M.J., Lantos, J.D. (2017). Genomic Contraindications for Heart Transplantation. Pediatrics 139(4): e20163471.

Deem M.J. (2017). Vulnerability in Genetic Counseling and the Ground of Nondirectiveness. In Straehle, C. (ed.), Vulnerability, Autonomy, and Applied Ethics (pp. 138-156). Routledge.

Dai, H., Deem, M.J., Hao, J. (2017), Geographic Variations in Electronic Cigarette Advertisements on Twitter in the United States. International Journal of Public Health 62(4): 479-487

Deem, M.J. (2016), Dehorning the Darwinian Dilemma for Normative Realism. Biology and Philosophy. 31(5): 727-746.

Deem, M.J., Ramsey G. (2016), Guilt by Association? Philosophical Psychology. 29(4): 570-585.

Deem, M.J. (2016). Whole-genome Sequencing and Disability in the NICU: Exploring Practical and Ethical Challenges. Pediatrics. 137(1): S47-S55.

Deem, M.J. (2016). Microbes and Medical Decisions. American Journal of Bioethics. 16(2): 55-56.

Deem, M.J. (2016). An Accessibility Constraint on Parental Refusal of Critical Newborn Screening. American Journal of Bioethics. 16(1): 24-26.

Newsletters and Popular Media

M. J. Deem. (2018). Behind the Article Podcast Interview. American Journal of Nursing. August 2018.

Lantos, J.D., Deem, M.J. (2017). Genetic Testing in the Evaluation of Transplant Candidates. The LINK, volume 9(3), March 2017.

Deem, M.J., Ramsey, G. (2016). The Evolutionary Puzzle of Guilt: Individual or Group Selection? The Emotion Researcher, ISRE's Sourcebook for Research on Emotion and Affect.

Deem, M.J. (2015). A Disability-conscious Look at Genomic Sequencing in the NICU. The LINK, 7(10), October 2015.



  • Manual Davenport Alumnus Lecture, Texas A&M University, April 2019
  • Selected Participant, ‘Moral Intuitionism: Epistemological and Ethical Aspects' seminar, Central European University, July 22-31, 2013
  • Selected Participant, ‘Evolution of Morality' workshop, Forum Scientiarum, University of Tübingen, June 12-16, 2012
  • Pass with Distinction, Ph.D. Oral Comprehensive Exam in Political Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, May 2012
  • Pass with Distinction, Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam in the History of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, August 2010
  • Selected Participant, ‘Aspects of Responsibility' Seminar, Central European University, July 5-13, 2010
  • Selected Participant, Templeton Summer Seminar on Evil and Early Modern Philosophy, Skidmore College, June 7-11, 2010
  • Phi Kappa Phi - Texas A&M University (Inducted 2009)

Grants Awarded

  • Faculty Development Fund Award, Duquesne University Office of Research ($7,702), 2018-2020
  • Indiana State University College of Arts & Science Research Grant ($1,500), 2017
  • ISLA Graduate Student Research Grant ($2,500), 2013
  • Notre Dame GSU Conference Presentation Grants ($550 total), 2012, 2013
  • Notebaert Professional Development Grant, University of Notre Dame ($1,900), 2013
  • Udo Keller Humanum Forum Grant (550 EUR), 2013
  • Downes Memorial Grant, University of Notre Dame ($1,000), 2010