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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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Bedless Psychiatry—Rebuilding Behavioral Health Service Capacity

An new article by Dominic Sisti, Elizabeth Sinclair, and Steven Sharfstein in JAMA Psychiatry.

Read the Article


KeY Resource

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Revisiting the Goldwater Rule:  Psychiatry, Ethics, & Politics

Check out resources & read the original issue of Fact Magazine that sparked today's controversy about psychiatrists speculating about the mental health of public figures. 


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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

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

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

Ethics Track at the 2017 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 2017 ethics track includes 13 sessions, led by nationally and globally renowned scholars, including:

"The Goldwater Rule: Pro and Con"

"The Battle Over Involuntary Psychiatric Care"

"A Hippocratic Oath for Global Mental Health"

"Informed About Informed Consent: Toward a Model Graduate Medical Curriculum"

"Navigating Online Professionalism and Social Media Personas: Principles and Practical Solutions for Training and Practice"

"Rethinking “Trust” in Culture and Psychiatric Practice"

View the Full Program

In the News

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

Philly.com | "'13 Reasons Why' a failed attempt at reducing stigma surrounding mental illness" |  July 28, 2017 | Read the Article

The Public's Health | Waking up about sleep: A public health need, overlooked | September 7, 2016 | Read the Aricle

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

WHYY Newsworks | Group of ethicists to examine mental health care behind bars | March 7, 2016 | Read Article


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

Recent 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




More Info