Meet the Ethics Associates

Charlotte H. Harrison, PhD, JD, MPH (Ethics Advisory Committee Co-Chair)

Charlotte Harrison is Hospital Ethicist and Director of the Office of Ethics at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she also co-chairs the Ethics Advisory Committee with Jeffrey Burns MD MPH, Chief of Critical Care. The Office of Ethics provides ethics-related resources to the hospital’s patients, families and staff. In her work with the office, she has led a range of these efforts, including ethics education, case consultation, and policy development and review. She has also served as director of the hospital-wide literature and medicine program and has co-chaired organizational ethics task forces addressed to issues in the provision of extracorporeal life support (co-chair: Ravi Thiagarajan MD) and the conduct of organ donation after circulatory death (co-chair: Peter Laussen MBBS). With James Sabin MD, she currently co-chairs the Organizational Ethics Interest Group at the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School.

Before entering the field of bioethics, Charlotte graduated from Harvard Law School and practiced law for fifteen years, both at private firms and in the Office of Technology Affairs at Massachusetts General Hospital. She then returned to Harvard for masters-level training in ethics and public health. She completed her PhD there in May, 2014, with a dissertation addressed to the ethics of professional collaboration in conditions of uncertainty. She has taught public health ethics at the undergraduate level. She has been a Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School and has served on the Institutional Review Board of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Her bioethics-related writing has been published in the American Journal of Law and Medicine, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, and Transplantation Proceedings.

David K. Urion, MD, FAAN (Ethics Advisory Committee Co-Chair)

Dr. Urion is Associate Neurologist at Boston Children's Hospital and Director of the Behavioral Neurology Program at Harvard Medical School.

He is also Assistant Professor and Charles F. Barlow Chair in Neurology; Director of Education and Residency Training Programs in Clinical Neurology and Clinical Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.  Dr. Urion graduated from Dartmouth College and Stanford Medical School.

Theonia Boyd, MD 

Dr. Boyd is the Director of the Division of Anatomic Pathology in the Department of Pathology at Boston Children's Hospital, a full time staff pathologist at Children's Hospital, and a part time staff pathologist in the Division of Women's and Perinatal Pathology within the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Boyd is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Boyd completed a Fellowship in Medical Ethics in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School during the 2009-2010 Academic year. She has been a member of Boston Children's Hospital Ethics Advisory Committee since 2008. Her interests in medical ethics include ethical issues surrounding autopsy pathology and reporting, and ethical issues regarding the scope of expert witness testimony in medical malpractice.

Stephen Brown, MD

Dr. Brown grew up in Philadelphia and received his B.A. and M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and fellowships in Pediatric Radiology and Pediatric Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology at Boston Children's Hospital. His clinical interests include pediatric body imaging, obstetrical imaging, and imaging-guided tumor ablation. Dr. Brown and his colleagues performed the first radiofrequency ablation of a kidney tumor in a child.

Dr. Brown completed the 2003 Fellowship in Medical Ethics in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has been a member of the Boston Children’s Hospital Ethics Advisory Committee since 2002, and has been an Associate Clinical Ethicist at Boston Children's Hospital since 2004. From 2005 to 2007, he served as Research Subject Advocate for Ethics and Education for Boston Children’s Hospital General Clinical Research Center. He is a member of the Professionalism Committee of the Radiologic Society of North America. In 2006, he was the recipient of a Children's Hospital Faculty Career Development Award, and was named an Eleanor and Miles Shore 50th Anniversary Scholar in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In 2007, he was a national finalist for the Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program in Bioethics. Dr. Brown’s interests include the ethical implications of emerging prenatal technologies, professionalism, conflicts of interest, and the distinction between research, innovation, and standard practice.

Christy L. Cummings, MD

Dr. Cummings is an Instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and an attending neonatologist in the Division of Newborn Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. She is the Medical Director of the Compassionate Care Committee at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, while also serving on the hospital’s Ethics Committee, and is a new member of the Ethics Advisory Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital. She participated in Yale’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics Program in Bioethics (2011) and recently completed the Fellowship Program in Medical Ethics through the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School (2012-2013). A graduate of Colby College, Dr. Cummings received her medical degree from the University of Rochester, and training in pediatrics, neonatology and ethics at Yale.

Her research and scholarly activities focus broadly on medical ethics and humanism and their intersection with education, as well as counseling. Dr. Cummings is currently interested in ethics and humanism in medicine and the acquisition of ethical principles and knowledge, including interpersonal competence and professionalism, via simulation during training in neonatology, pediatrics and medicine in general. She is conducting research on the state of ethics education for neonatal-perinatal fellows, and is in the process of developing an ethics curriculum for this group of trainees. Recent work has appeared in Pediatrics, Hastings Center Report, J Perinatology, and Journal of Medical Ethics.

David Coulter, MD

Dr. Coulter is Senior Associate in Neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital and was named the recipient of the 2010 Leadership Award of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). Dr. Coulter has served previously as AAIDD President and has had a long-standing role of leadership in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

David Diamond, MD

Dr. Diamond is Chief of Urology at Boston Children’s Hospital, Professor of Surgery (Urology) at Harvard Medical School, and Associate Clinical Ethicist at Boston Children’s Hospital. He was a Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School from 2001-2002.

Dr. Diamond has a strong interest in ethical issues related to disorders of sexual differentiation and gender assignment and has published and lectured on this subject. He is Co-Director of the GeMS (Gender Management Service) at Boston Children’s Hospital. 

Judi Friedson, RN, MS 

Judi Friedson is a Clinical Ethicist at Boston Children’s Hospital and ethics consultant at Tewksbury Hospital who began her career in ethics in the mid 80’s as a founding member of the ethics committee at U.C. San Diego. In addition to a master’s degree in health communication, she has completed a fellowship in medical ethics at Harvard and ethics training at the University of Washington, School of Medicine and the Kennedy Institute at Georgetown University.

Judi is a former writer for Ethical Currents, a publication of the Center for Health Care Ethics in Orange California, and has also written for Nursing Spectrum, Critical Care Nurse, and Baystate Nurse News. 

Judith A. Johnson, JD

Judith is currently a Clinical Ethics Associate of the Ethics Advisory Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital and a member of the Harvard teaching hospitals’ ethics leadership group. Judy worked for more than two decades as a health care attorney, including serving as Vice President of Legal Services for New England Medical Center Hospitals, Inc., where she also served as an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Community Health at Tufts University School of Medicine, teaching Medical Ethics and leading first year medical students in problem based learning classes.

Judy also worked at the law firms of Ropes & Gray and Choate, Hall & Stewart, representing hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, and physician groups in a variety of health law matters. She represented clients before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in leading patients’ rights cases (Norwood Hospital v. Munoz, Brophy v. New England Sinai Hospital and Custody of a Minor). She received a Certificate in Health Care Ethics at the University of Washington in Seattle and completed the ethics fellowship at the Harvard Medical School. Among many publications, her most recent book co-authored with Robert Truog and David Browning is entitled, “Talking with Patients and Families about Medical Error: a Guide for Education and Practice” (The Johns Hopkins University Press 2011). 

Daniel Kamin, MD

Dr. Kamin completed a three-year fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at Harvard (2003-2005). He then joined Boston Children’s Hospital faculty as a staff gastroenterologist and served as the first medical director of the intestinal transplantation program, from July 2005 to July 2010, during which time they performed fourteen intestinal transplants.

As the only center in the New England area with an active intestinal transplant program, they were able to offer a rare procedure to unusual patients in great need, without their having to travel to distant centers away from family and friends. Extending the clinical work Dr. Kamin has done an intestinal transplantation; he completed a year-long fellowship in post-graduate medical ethics at Harvard Medical School 2008-2009.

Dr. Kamin is a Clinical Ethics Associate of the Ethics Advisory Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital and will be joining the ethics committee of UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing, as Region 1 (New England) representative in July 2011. Dr. Kamin is working to develop scholarship in the ethics of intestinal failure and transplant candidacy. Over the past three years Dr. Kamin has participated in Harvard Medical School’s (HMS) first and second-year teaching and evaluation modules. As a newcomer to co-directing the gastrointestinal physiology section for HMS first year Integrated Human Physiology Course, he has continued to enjoy the process of learning and teaching medicine. Dr. Kamin is also an associate program director for the Fellowship in Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he coordinates major aspects of the Program.

Kerri Kennedy, MA, BS, RN

Kerri Kennedy is a Clinical Ethicist at Boston Children’s Hospital.  She earned a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1995 and a master’s degree in bioethics and health policy from Loyola University Chicago 2014.  During her career as a Registered Nurse Kerri’s practice specialties have included surgical critical care, post-anesthesia care, clinical education, and bioethics.

At Boston Children’s Hospital, Kerri coordinates and facilitates ethics consultations, conducts unit-based ethics rounds, and assists with the development and implementation of ethics-related institutional policies.  She is particularly interested in relational aspects of ethical healthcare delivery and serves as faculty for the Program to Enhance Relational Communication Skills (PERCS). In addition, Kerri is an active member of the Boston Children’s Ethics Advisory Committee, participates in the Harvard Clinical Ethics Consortium, and serves on the Harvard Task Force on Ethical Issues in Emergency Preparedness.

Jennifer Kesselheim, MD, MED, MBE

Dr. Kesselheim is a pediatric hematologist-oncologist who cares for patients at both Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Kesselheim earned a Masters degree in Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania and completed the Fellowship in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School. She also completed a Masters degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In addition to her clinical roles, Dr. Kesselheim currently serves as the Associate Ethicist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where she co-chairs the Ethics Advisory Committee. In addition, she has taken on leadership roles as the Medical Educator in the Office of Graduate Medical Education at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Associate Fellowship Program Director for Education at the Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center. As an educator she develops and directs curricula on ethics, humanism, and professionalism for residents and fellows throughout the Harvard medical community.

Dr. Kesselheim also pursues a career in clinical investigation. She conducts research to explore how to teach ethics and medical professionalism to physicians and her work has appeared in Pediatrics, the American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Graduate Medical Education, and the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Jon Marron, MD

Dr. Marron is a third-year fellow in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a Health Services Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School. He has been a member of the Ethics Advisory Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital since 2012.

A graduate of Stanford University, Dr. Marron completed his medical training at UCLA and residency in Pediatrics at Stanford University. He then completed a fellowship in Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago’s MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. He presently is completing a Masters in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Christine Mitchell, RN, MS, MTS, FAAN

Christine Mitchell isthe Executive Director for the Center of Bioethics at Harvard Medical School. Formerly, Director of the Office of Ethics at Boston Children’s Hospital where she developed and directed the ethics consultation service. She leads the monthly Harvard Ethics Consortium, teaches in the ethics fellowship program, and organized and co-chairs the Ethics Leadership Group for the HMS teaching hospitals and affiliated health care facilities. Her current research focuses on evaluation of ethics consultation.

A nurse with undergraduate and graduate degrees from Boston University School of Nursing and a Master’s degree with a major in ethics from Harvard, Christine was a founding Board member of the Society for Bioethics Consultation, past President of the American Society for Law, Medicine and Ethics, and a Faculty Fellow in Ethics and the Professions at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.

Christine has been involved with ethics committees nationally and locally since the 1980s, including the development of a Community Ethics Committee which she organized with Carol Powers in 2007 to bring public voices into discussion of ethical issues in health care.

She currently serves on the clinical ethics consultation committee of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities which is working on a Code of Ethics for and certification of ethics consultants. She has made documentary films related to clinical ethics, including one which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1984, and a video for which she and film-maker Ben Achtenberg won a Freddie award in 2004. She has authored and co-authored ethics articles published in the American Journal of Nursing, The Journal of Clinical Ethics, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Newsweek. Articles about her have appeared in Reader’s Digest and Yankee magazine.

Konstantinos Papadakis, MD

Dr. Papadakis is a Staff General Pediatric Surgeon at Boston Children's Hospital. He completed his General Surgery residency at Brown University, trained in Pediatric Surgery at Tufts Medical Center, and has also completed his fellowship at BCH.

Dr. Papadakis has many interests in the interface of surgery and ethics, especially in the dilemmas of neonatal surgery as they relate to the limits of viability. Currently, he is involved in implementing the pediatric surgery ethics curriculum for their fellowship trainees.

Jehanna Peerzada, MD, MPH

Dr. Peerzada is a pediatric urgent care and hospitalist physician with fellowship training in clinical research and bioethics at the National Institutes of Health. Her clinical time is spent either in the emergency department at Boston Children’s Hospital or as the staff pediatrician at Norwood Hospital, covering the inpatient ward, nursery, and emergency department.

Dr. Peerzada’s activities in ethics have included participation on the hospital ethics committee at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC and Boston Children’s Hospital, ethics consultation, and teaching ethics to all levels of medical trainees.

Her research has examined neonatologists’ practices and attitudes towards the delivery room resuscitation of very preterm infants in New England and Sweden, which she has presented in both countries. She is currently writing a review of cases involving withdrawal of artificial hydration and nutrition from children, and is proposing a study of physician practices and attitudes towards withdrawing artificial nutrition and hydration from seriously ill infants and children.

Sadath Sayeed, MD, JD

Dr. Sayeed is a neonatologist and attending physician in the Department of Newborn Medicine and an Associate Clinical Ethicist in the Office of Ethics at Boston Children’s Hospital. He also holds a primary academic appointment in the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School. His academic scholarship has focused on ethical and legal analyses of medical decision-making for newborns in the United States.

Currently, his work focuses on the social determinants of health in developing countries, with emphasis on newborns and infants. Dr. Sayeed is also interested in medical ethics education both here and in developing countries and is pursing interdisciplinary work related to prioritization of health care under conditions of resource scarcity. He is a member of the Steering Committee for the Harvard University Program in Ethics and Health. In addition to teaching 1st year medical students at Harvard, he is responsible for directing the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) educational program at the Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital and recently, has been named Director for RCR education through the newly NIH-funded CTSA/Catalyst program.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Dr. Sayeed received his medical training at the University Of Iowa College Of Medicine, trained in pediatrics and neonatology at the University of California, San Francisco, and received his law degree from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty at Harvard, he taught bioethics at the University of California, Berkeley Law School and UCSF.

Allison Scobie-Carrol, LICSW, MBA

Allison is the Director of Social Work at Boston Children’s hospital, a department of over 150 clinical social work staff. Prior to assuming this role, she provided a decade of leadership to the Child Protection Program at Boston Children’s. In addition to her national and international work in the fields of child welfare and behavioral health, Ms. Scobie-Carroll has occupied the role of part-time faculty member at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work.  

 A leader within the social work field, Ms. Scobie-Carroll is currently the President-Elect of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Massachusetts Chapter, and serves on several community advisory boards including those of the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund and Salem State University Graduate School of Social Work. In 2014 Allison was appointed to the Boston Children’s Ethics Advisory Committee and in June 2015 completed the Fellowship in Bioethics At Harvard Medical School. 

Patrick T. Smith MDiv, MA, PhD

Patrick Smith is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, MA and the Ethics Coordinator for the Angela Hospice Care Center in Livonia, MI. Along with regional commitments, he is dedicated to global education having taught courses and provided lectures to clergy, medical professionals, educators, and community and government leaders in Kitwe, Zambia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya, and various regions in the West Indies.

Patrick serves on the Ethics Advisory Council for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), the Boston Children’s Hospital Ethics Advisory Committee, and the Community Ethics Committee sponsored by Harvard Ethics Leadership Group. He is also a state board member of the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Michigan. His general academic and research areas are in ethical theory, end-of-life medical ethics, hospice palliative care, religious epistemology, and analytic philosophical theology.  

Patrick is interested particularly in the factors surrounding the disparity of hospice care use in African-American populations along with the more frequent use of aggressive life sustaining treatment at the end of life in comparison to their non-Hispanic White counterparts. His formal education includes a B.S. in Business Administration from Auburn University, a M.Div. from Trinity International University, an MA and Ph.D. in philosophy from Wayne State University.

Robert D. Truog, MD

Dr. Truog is Professor of Medical Ethics, Anaesthesia and Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He has practiced pediatric intensive care medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital for more than 25 years, including serving as Chief of the Division for more than a decade.

Dr. Truog is also Executive Faculty Director for the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School, where he has a leadership role in creating and teaching an ethics curriculum from the undergraduate level to postgraduate continuing medical education. He creates and teaches highly interactive seminars to enhance the relational and communication skills of clinicians across a variety of topics, including breaking bad news, discussing organ donation with families, and disclosure of adverse events and medical error. He has published more than 200 articles and books in bioethics and related disciplines. His recent books include “Talking with Patients and Families about Medical Error: A Guide for Education and Practice (2010, JHUP), and Death, Dying, and Organ Transplantation (2012, Oxford).

Meredith van der Velden, MD

Dr. van der Velden is an Assistant in Critical Care Medicine and Instructor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School as well as an Associate Ethicist at Boston Children’s Hospital. She earned her B.S. in Biology from the University of Kentucky, and her M.D. from the University Of Kentucky College Of Medicine. She completed her residency in Pediatrics through the Boston Combined Residency Program at Children’s Hospital Boston and Boston Medical Center in 2005.

Dr. van der Velden went on to complete her fellowship in pediatric critical care at Children’s Hospital Boston in 2008. In 2007 she completed the Fellowship in Ethics at the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School. She also serves as a member on the Ethics Advisory Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. van der Velden’s research interests include the evaluation of end-of-life decision-making in neurologically injured patients in the pediatric ICU.

David Waisel, MD

Dr. Waisel is an Associate Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and a pediatric anesthesiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. Among other duties, he serves as the program director for the largest pediatric anesthesiology fellowship in the United States, as the chair of physician education for the Program for Patient Safety and Quality at Children’s Hospital Boston, and as an Associate Clinical Ethicist at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Dr. Waisel has published more than 50 manuscripts, reviews, chapters and editorials and has been invited to give a similar number of national and international presentations. His research centers on ethical issues surrounding informed consent and capital punishment.