Bioethics and COVID-19

This webinar will illustrate how a broad range of topics in bioethics can be used to discuss COVID-19. The current pandemic does raise some new ethical issues, but we do not need to start from scratch as we can draw upon a wide range of previously produced discussions. For example, the literature in public health ethics has explored issues related to the prevention of infection and the justification for restrictive measures in the population. Preparedness and planning for infectious disease outbreaks are part of the obligations of governments, including ensuring that the most disadvantaged are protected. In addition, previous work in research ethics can be used to explore issues relating to clinical trials for treatments and vaccines in response to COVID-19 and literature from clinical ethics can help us when we think about issues such as the prioritization of resources and the extent of the duty to care for patients. In conclusion, the resources of bioethics can be seen to be central to any ethical response to a pandemic such as COVID-19.

This webinar is organized by APRU Global Health Program and

USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health.

Revisit the webinar on YouTube

Presentation slides


Date and Time

Friday, June 12, 2020

11 am (Sydney)/10 am (Tokyo/Seoul)/9 am (Hong Kong/Beijing)/8 am (Bangkok)

Thursday, June 11, 2020

6 pm Pacific Time (US & Canada)



Additional Information

  • This webinar is open to the public and will be recorded for those who cannot attend live.

  • Visit here for news, events and resources of the APRU Global Health Program.

  • Please note at this time we are unable to issue certificate for attendance at this webinar.

  • The views, information, or opinions expressed during webinars are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Association of Pacific Rim Universities (“APRU”) and its employees. APRU is not responsible for and does not verify for accuracy of any of the information contained in the series.

Professor Angus Dawson
Director of Sydney Health Ethics, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney

Angus Dawson is Professor of Bioethics and Director of Sydney Health Ethics at the University of Sydney, Australia. His main research interests are in public health ethics, research ethics, and methodology in bioethics. His work is increasingly focused on working with organizations to embed ethics into policy and everyday practice. He is currently writing a series of papers about key concepts in public health including solidarity, community, and trust as well as working on projects on Antimicrobial Resistance, Vaccine Prioritisation and the Ethics of Migration. He is the joint editor-in-Chief of the journal Public Health Ethics and was one of the editors of the casebook Global Perspectives on Public Health Ethics, which has been downloaded in full or in part over 500,000 times. You can download it for free here:

Dr Mellissa Withers (Moderator)
Associate Professor, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California and Director, APRU Global Health Program

Mellissa Withers, Ph.D., MHS is an Associate Professor at thin the Department of Preventive Medicine. She is based at the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health. She also is also Director of the Global Health Program of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, a non-profit network of more than 50 leading universities in the region. She received a Ph.D. from the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health with a minor in cultural anthropology. She also earned a Master’s in International Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in international development from UC Berkeley. Her research interests lie in community participatory research, gender-based violence, and global sexual and reproductive health. Dr. Withers is the editor of two books: Global Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health Across the Lifecourse, and Global Health Leadership: Case Studies from the Asia-Pacific. She also writes a blog on human trafficking titled Modern-Day Slavery for Psychology Today.