Olivia Schuman

Assistant Professor


Olivia Schuman is cross appointed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Clinical Ethicist at Norton Healthcare. She specializes in bioethics, particularly reproductive ethics and clinical ethics. Among other things, she teaches classes in the MA in Health Care Ethics. 

She completed a fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine where she served as a clinical ethicist and researcher at Houston Methodist Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. She enjoys mentoring students by providing them opportunities to shadow her clinical ethics work in the hospital. 

Her recent publications in clinical ethics include a discussion on unilateral withdrawal of life-sustaining technologies against patient wishes; the ethics of allocating scarce resources based on covid-19 vaccination status; and tools for mitigating the risk of manipulation during video-calls between medical teams and patients’ families. 

In reproductive ethics, she considers the normative value of genetic ties in constructing personal and family identities. She has recently published a discussion on the role of human dignity in anonymous sperm donation, and has a forthcoming publication on whether gamete donation policies that are grounded in bionormative values can be legitimate.  

Her work has been published in well-known scholarly journals including Bioethics, American Journal of Bioethics, The American Journal of Human Genetics, Journal of Medical Ethics and she has been interviewed several times for the Medical Ethics Advisor.  Her favorite publication, however, is still her first one— a discussion on providing an ethical response to staff concerns of paranormal activity in the hospital, published in the Canadian Journal of Bioethics. 

 One of the projects she is currently working on analyzes the experiences of users of genetic-ancestry databases who uncover unexpected genetic ties. In clinical ethics, she is developing a paper on the performative and symbolic aspects of medicine.