Photo of Dr. Michael Deem

Michael J. Deem, PhD

Assistant Professor
School of Nursing and
Center for Global Health 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 (tenure-track) in 2017, holding a joint appointment in the School of Nursing and the Center for Global Health Ethics. His main areas of research are bioethics, philosophy of science and medicine, and public health ethics.

Dr. Deem completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame in 2015, under the direction of Robert Audi and Grant Ramsey. He then served as the 2015-16 Pediatric Ethics and Genomics Fellow at Children's Mercy Hospital, mentored by John Lantos and Holly Welsh. There, Dr. Deem 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, master classes in genomics through the Children's Mercy Genomic Medicine Center, 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, a faculty member of the Center for Bioethics and Health Law at the University of Pittsburgh, and a subject faculty member of the Certificate Program in Pediatric Bioethics at Children's Mercy Hospital. He also participates on the hospital ethics committee at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Dr. Deem has written and been interviewed for regional and national media on ethical issues in clinical care and public health, including The Confluence on NPR, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 90.5 WESA, Al Kresta in the Afternoon on Ave Maria/EWTN Radio, The Pillar, and The Martin Griffin Show on KDKA Newsradio.

  • 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


Deem, MJ. Conceptual Issues in Genomic Medicine. Cambridge University Press. (under contract)

Edited Volumes

Deem MJ & Lingler JH (eds.). Nursing Ethics: Normative Foundations, Advanced Concepts, and Emerging Issues. Oxford University Press. (under contract)

Deem MJ, Farrow EG, & Grubs RE (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Genetic Counseling. Oxford University Press (under contract)

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

Deem MJ (under contract). Why an ethics of care needs ethical principles. In Deem MJ, Lingler JH (eds.), Nursing Ethics: Normative Foundations, Advanced Concepts, and Emerging Issues. Oxford University Press.

Deem MJ (under contract). Respect for autonomy: Privacy, confidentiality, and nondirectiveness in genetic counseling. In Deem MJ, Farrow EG, Grubs RE (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Genetic Counseling. Oxford University Press.

Deem MJ, Vogelstein E, Glasgow MES (2020). Integrating ethics across the curricula: Innovations in undergraduate and graduate nursing education. In E. Emerson & C. M. Alfes (eds.), Innovative Strategies in Teaching Nursing, 59-67. Springer Publishing.

Deem MJ, Kronk RA, Staggs VS, Lucas D. (2020). Nurses' perspectives on the dismissal of vaccine-refusing families from pediatric and family care practices. American Journal of Health Promotion 34(6): 622-632.

Nold L, Deem MJ (2020). A simulation experience for preparing nurses to address refusal of childhood vaccines. Journal of Nursing Education 59(4): 222-226.

Navin MC, Kozak AT, Deem MJ (2020). Perspectives of public health nurses on the ethics of mandated vaccine education. Nursing Outlook 68(1): 62-72.

Deem MJ, Stephen JM (2020). Do a surrogate decision-maker's reasons matter? Nursing 50(2): 16-18.

Baumgartel KL, Deem MJ (2019). Promoting the use of pasteurized human donor milk in the NICU. Nursing 49(12): 11-13.

Deem MJ, Stokes F (2019). Culture and consent in clinical care: A critical review of nursing and nursing ethics literature. Annual Review of Nursing Research 37(1): 223-259.

Deem, MJ (2018). Nurses' voices matter for decisions about dismissing vaccine-refusing families. American Journal of Nursing 118(8): 11.Deem MJ, Navin MC, Lantos, JD (2018). Considering whether the dismissal of vaccine-refusing families is fair to other clinicians. JAMA Pediatrics 172(6): 515-516.

Deem MJ (2018). A flaw in the Stich-Plantinga challenge to evolutionary reliabilism. Analysis 78(2): 216-225.

Deem MJ (2017). Responding to parents who refuse childhood immunizations. Nursing 47(12): 11-14.

Deem MJ (2017). Vulnerability in genetic counseling and the ground of nondirectiveness. In Straehle C (ed.), Vulnerability, Autonomy, and Applied Ethics (pp. 138-156). Routledge.

Char DS, Lázaro-Muñoz G, Barnes A, Magnus D, Deem MJ, Lantos JD (2017). Genomic contraindications for heart transplantation. Pediatrics 139(4): e20163471.

Reprinted in Lantos JD (ed.), Pediatric Collections: Ethics Rounds: A Casebook in Pediatric Bioethics. American Academy of Pediatrics, 2019.

Dai H, Deem MJ, 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 MJ (2016). Dehorning the Darwinian dilemma for normative realism. Biology and Philosophy 31(5): 727-746.

Deem MJ, Ramsey G (2016). Guilt by association? Philosophical Psychology 29(4): 570-585.

Deem MJ (2016). Whole genome sequencing and disability in the NICU: Exploring practical and ethical challenges. Pediatrics 137(S1): S47-S55.

Newsletters and Popular Media

Deem, MJ. (2018). Behind the Article Podcast Interview. American Journal of Nursing. August 2018.

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

Deem, MJ, 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, MJ (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