Rebecca Walker


Associate Professor, Department of Social Medicine
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy

Ph.D., Philosophy (1998)
MA, Philosophy (1993)
A.B., American Studies (1991)

Dr. Walker's philosophical research interests are in the areas of bioethics and practical ethics methodology. Her work to date has focused on: practical virtue ethics, concepts of autonomy in bioethics, the ethics of how we treat non-human animals, the allocation of health care resources, and ethics methods within ELSI (the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of the Human Genome Project). Sample publications include: "Morality and the Limits of Societal Preferences in Health Care Allocation," (with Andrew Siegel in Health Economics 2002), “Human and Animal Subjects of Research: The Moral Significance of Respect versus Welfare,” (Journal of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 2006), Working Virtue: Virtue Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems (Co-edited with Philip Ivanhoe, Oxford University Press 2007), “Medical Ethics Needs a New View of Autonomy” (Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2009), “Respect for Rational Autonomy” (Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 2009), "Biodefense Research and the US Regulatory Structure: Whither Nonhuman Primate Moral Status?" (With Nancy MP King in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal2011), Charting ELSI’s Future Course: Lessons from the Recent Past (with Clair Morrissey in Genetics in Medicine 2012) and “Funding and Forums for ELSI Research: Who (or What) is Setting the Agenda?” (with Clair Morrissey in American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research 2012).

Dr. Walker completed a post-doctoral fellowship in bioethics and health policy at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities in July 2001 (sponsored by the Greenwall Foundation). She then held a visiting faculty position in the Philosophy Department at the University of Michigan and arrived at the UNC Department of Social Medicine with an adjunct appointment in the Philosophy Department in July of 2003. She is core faculty in the Center for Bioethics, co-directs the education services for UNC Hospitals, and is co-investigator in the Center for Genomics and Society as well as the Ethics Core of UNC’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (NC TraCS).

In Philosophy, Dr. Walker regularly teaches ethics and bioethics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In Social Medicine, she teaches the “Medicine and Society” course for first year medical students as well as medical ethics and health care allocation courses for second year medical students. In the recent past, Dr. Walker served on the advisory board for the Policy, Ethics, and Law core of the Southeast Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense. Dr. Walker is a fellow in the Parr Center for Ethics at UNC.

Curriculum Vitae


Phone: 919.843.6896

Fax: 919.962.2154

Post: Rebecca Walker / CB #7240, Department of Social Medicine / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7240

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