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The Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care is housed in the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. The ScattergoodEthics Program aims to elevate the national conversation about the ethics of research, treatment, and delivery of behavioral health care.

NEW Publication

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Social Media, E‐Health, and Medical Ethics
A new article by Mélanie Terrasse, Moti Gorin, & Dominic Sisti
Read the Article


In the news

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"States may now broaden mental health treatment under Medicaid"
Read the Article at CNN.com


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Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson talks about the state of mental health hospitals in the U.S. with Dominic Sisti, a medical ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania.
Listen to the interview

More From ScattergoodEthics

Defining Clinical Wisdom

Cynthia Baum-Baicker, PhD
Journal for the Advancement of Scientific Psychoanalytic Empirical Research
2018 Vol. 2

Ethics Track at the 2018 American Psychiatric Association's Annual Meeting

The ScattergoodEthics Program, in collaboration with the APA Ethics Committee and St. Elizabeth's Hospital, has organized and sponsored a multi-session ethics track for the Annual Meeting of the APA.  The 2018 ethics track includes sessions led by nationally and globally renowned scholars, including:

Forcing Autonomy? Involuntary & Nonvoluntary Treatment of Persons with Opioid Addiction
Dominic Sisti, Arthur Caplan, Jonathan Lukens
Marriott Marquis, Alvin/Edison/Booth
Sunday, May 6, 10:00am-11:30am

Rebuilding the Asylum: The Ethics of Architecture
Dominic Sisti, Philip Candilis, Marc Shaw, Bruce Shaver
Javits Center, Rooms 1A04/05
Wednesday, May 9, 10:00am-11:30am

Decision Making: Models, Contexts, Cases, and Cultures
Michelle Joy, Karla Campanella, Judith Katz
Javits Center, Room 1E17
Wednesday, May 9, 1:00pm-2:30pm

View the Full Program

County Jail or Psychiatric Hospital? Ethical Challenges in Correctional Mental Health Care

Andrea G. Segal, Rosemary Frasso, and Dominic A. Sisti
Qualitative Health Research 
Vol 28, Issue 6, pp. 963 - 976

Recovering Inside? Ethics in Correctional Mental Health Care

A shadow health care system now exists behind bars in the US, with a substantial amount of behavioral health care delivered there.

There are approximately 2.6 million people incarcerated in the US, which equates, by far, to the world’s highest incarceration rate (~700/100,000 people). It is estimated that 50% of inmates of jails and prisons have a mental illness, and 15-20% have a serious mental illness. 

By convening an interdisciplinary research group that includes bioethicists, clinicians, prison reform advocates, and (at least) one former inmate, we will develop a novel line of bioethics research to examine ethics and policy questions in correctional mental health care.

This project is funded by the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania

Learn More

The Prodromal Schizophrenia Empirical and Ethical Nexus (PSEEN) Initiative

The PSEEN Initiative aims to indentify and examine ethical and policy issues generated by rapidly advancing technoligies that will allow early detection and possibly prevention of psychosis spectrum disorders.  

In partnership with the Neuropsychiatry Section in Penn's Department of Psychiatry, we will approach these issues along two research tracks: empirical bioethics and normative analysis.

Key problems to be addressed by this initiative will be to clarify the concept of prodromal psychosis and examine derivative ethical challenges, such as appropriate disclosure of risk information, mitigating stigma, and respecting the autonomy of adolescents as transitional decision makers.

The PSEEN Initiative is supported a grant from the Greenwall Foundation.

Learn More

About Us

The Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care (ScattergoodEthics) is housed within the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania.  

ScattergoodEthics is dedicated to education, research, and resource development for the field of psychiatric, mental, and behavioral healthcare ethics. The program engages in scholarly research, trains and educates clinicians and scholars in mental and behavioral healthcare ethics, sponsors programs and public events, and promotes and advocates for greater attention to the ethical dimensions of diagnosis and treatment.  ScattergoodEthics is funded in large part by the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation. 

Visit the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy

In the News

WHYY | "N.J. bill calls for treatment over jail time for criminal defendants with mental illness" | May 7, 2018 | Read the Article

The Daily Pennsylvanian | "Why Trump's comments on mental health have drawn attention to a Penn professor's work" | March 15, 2018 | Read the Article

The New York Times | "Trump Wants More Asylums — and Some Psychiatrists Agree" | March 5, 2018 | Read the Article

The Atlantic | "Trump's Call for Mental Institutions Could Be Good" | February 23, 2018 | Read the Article

The Philadelphia Inquirer | Why should behavioral health care be any different? | June 29, 2016 | Read Article

WHYY's The Pulse | We're at a point of historic reckoning on standards for behavioral health care | June 17, 2016 | Listen

New York Times | Psychiatric Institutions Are a Necessity | May 9, 2016 | Read Essay

Past Events

MARCH 23, 2017 | Grand Rounds in Psychiatry, Steven Sharfstein: "The Case for Caring Coercion" | The University of Pennsylvania

FEBRUARY 8, 2017 | Ground Rounds in Psychiatry, Dominic Sisti: "Bioethics Behind Bars: Addressing the Mental Health Care Crisis in Jails and Prisons" | Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine

DECEMBER 21, 2016 | Research Seminar in Population Health, Dominic Sisti: "Bioethics Behind Bars: Ethical Challenges in Jail and Prision Mental Health Care" | NYU Langone School of Medicine

APRIL 21, 2016 | Grand Rounds in Psychiatry: Giving Aslyum? Ethical Issues in Long-Term Psychiatric Care | The University of Pennsylvania

JANUARY 21, 2016  | Giving Asylum? The Ethics of Long-Term Care for People with Severe Mental Illness | The Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital | Hartford, CT

JULY 22, 2015 | A Debate on Treating Mental Illness: Should We Bring Back Asylums? | The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco |  Listen




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