Benjamin S Wilfond, MD

Benjamin S Wilfond, MD
"All doctors struggle with complex ethical issues, but I get the chance to talk with families and my colleagues to explore different perspectives and to think about those complex issues year after year. I love to share what I am learning, and I hope it helps us all make our journey in healthcare and in life more fulfilling."
  • Biography

    Benjamin S. Wilfond, MD, is an investigator at the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics and Palliative Care and a pulmonologist at Seattle Children's Hospital. He is a professor in the divisions of Bioethics & Palliative Care and Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. He is an adjunct professor in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities, University of Washington School of Medicine, and a core faculty member of the Institute for Public Health Genetics, University of Washington School of Public Health. Dr. Wilfond leads the Institute of Translational Health Sciences bioethics team, which is integrated into many of the ITHS programs.

    Dr. Wilfond has been at Seattle Children's Research Institute since 2006. He founded and is former division chief of Bioethics and Palliative Care and former director of the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics and Palliative Care, the first such programs in the U.S. In 1998, he founded the National Human Genome Research Institute Intramural Bioethics Core and its IRB. In 2014, he founded the Clinical Research Ethics Consultation Collaborative, a national network to advance research bioethics consultation practice.

    Dr. Wilfond is a co-editor of Challenging Cases in Clinical Research Ethics, Taylor and Francis (2024). He is fellow of the Hastings Center and a member of the editorial boards of the Hastings Center Report and Ethics and Human Research. He is a past president of the Association of Bioethics Program Directors and has served on the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Bioethics, American Society of Human Genetics Social Issues Committee, American Thoracic Society Bioethics Taskforce, Canadian Institutes of Health Research Standing Committee on Ethics and the FDA Pediatrics Advisory Committee.

    Dr. Wilfond attended Muhlenberg College, Rutgers University-New Jersey Medical School, and completed his postgraduate training at the University of Wisconsin. He has held faculty appointments at the University of Arizona, National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University.


    Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ


    University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, Madison, WI


    University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, Madison, WI

    Clinical Interests

    Dr. Wilfond retired from clinical practice in 2023. During his last decade in practice, he focused on the care for children with chronic lung disease related to prematurity, and followed families during their NICU stay and continued to care for them once they were home. Earlier in his career, he had a special interest in children and adults with cystic fibrosis, and children who required home mechanical ventilation. Dr. Wilfond was active in clinical ethics consultation from 1988 to 2023. He continues to be active in organizational ethics and research ethics consultation.

    Research Description

    For 35 years, Dr. Wilfond has engaged in social science research and conceptual scholarship related to ethical and policy issues at the research/clinical care interface. His current focus relates to improving family decisions regarding conditions that include neurocognitive disabilities, such as Trisomy 13 and 18; regarding advanced technologies such as home mechanical ventilation and genetic therapies; and regarding pragmatic research conducted within the context of health care delivery systems.

    Research Focus Area

    Bioethics, research ethics, pediatric ethics, ethics and genetics, ethics and disabilities

  • Related Resources

    • Wilfond Lab

      The Wilfond lab seeks to better improve people's experiences navigating our social institutions and systems for providing health care and conducting clinical research and focus on ethical and policy issues related to disabilities, genetics, and clinical research.

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  • Awards and Honors

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  • Clinical Trials and Research Studies

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