Welcome

Gary Gala, MD and I are the Founding Co-Directors of The UNC Psychiatry, Philosophy and Mental Health Program. We host “The Carolina Seminar on Philosophy, Ethics and Mental Health”, which is a speaker series that is held online but is not recorded. We also host the annual UNC Philosophy and Psychiatry Conference.  The first annual conference, featuring talks by Kathryn Tabb, John Sadler, Hilde Lindemann, and Jonathan Lear with commentaries by Derek Bolton, Brent Kious, Rebecca Walker and Ryan Preston-Roedder, can be viewed HERE. The 2nd Annual Conference, featuring presentations and conversations with Susan Levin, David Livingstone Smith and David Chalmers, is available HERE.

I am a Research Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. I serve on the UNC Hospital Ethics Committee and am a Lead Consultant on Clinical Ethics Consultation Service.

Rebecca Taylor, MD and I co-chair the Department of Psychiatry’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Workgroup on Ethics and Legislation. I am the Editor of our Bulletin, DEI Developments in Mental Health Ethics, Law and Policy.

My areas of specialization are Bioethics, Practical Ethics, Moral Psychology, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Law, and Political Philosophy, especially where those areas intersect with mental health care and services. Some current research projects include: identifying and reducing varieties of coercion and racial injustices in psychiatric services, philosophical and ethical issues emerging from the development of biomarkers in psychiatry, examining whether there are terminal psychiatric conditions, developing a critique of “pay-to-stay” laws, epistemological and ethical issues in psychotherapy, and ethical issues involved in using biomedical technologies (especially, gene editing and psychiatric interventions) to enhance human capacities beyond what is necessary to restore or sustain health.

I earned my Ph.D. in Philosophy from The University of Virginia. I have also completed a postdoctoral fellowship on “Evaluating Health Care Quality and Outcomes”, supervised by Eric Juengst, and funded by the UNC School of Nursing. I then completed postdoctoral training in a joint UNC/Duke program on “Mental Health Services Research”, supervised by Jeffrey Swanson, and funded by the National Institutes of Health.