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Arlene M. Davis, JD, will be new director of the UNC Center for Bioethics at the UNC School of Medicine starting July 1. The center’s previous director, Eric Juengst, PhD, will continue as a professor in the departments of Social Medicine and Genetics and as a core faculty member in the Center.


Photo of Arlene M. Davis, JD
Arlene M. Davis, JD

Arlene M. Davis, JD, associate professor in the UNC Department of Social Medicine and director of the Clinical Ethics Service at UNC Hospitals, has been named director of the UNC Center for Bioethics, effective July 1.

“I look forward to my director role in Center. Our core faculty members are outstanding and the Center’s research, educational, and service missions benefit for the depth of their scholarship and experience and their commitment to the field of bioethics. During my term I plan to concentrate on new ways to build upon our work and sharpen our focus on efforts that directly impact the School of Medicine, UNC Health, and the people of North Carolina. In my own service work, given that the Center serves as an academic home for the Clinical Ethics Program and thus the hospital’s Clinical Ethics Service, I hope to further our Center’s missions through my familiarity with and experience in a variety of medical education and clinical settings here at UNC and with the support of my colleagues in clinical ethics.

The center’s previous director, Eric Juengst, PhD, is stepping down from the director’s position but will continue as a professor in the UNC Department of Social Medicine and the UNC Department of Genetics and as core faculty in the Center.

“Eric has directed the Center since 2010 and has overseen its amazing growth and extraordinary success during the past decade,” said Jonathan Oberlander, PhD, professor and chair of the UNC Department of Social Medicine. “Social Medicine is very proud of its partnership with the Center for Bioethics and all that the Center has achieved in its research, service, clinical ethics, and teaching missions.”

“I want to thank Eric Juengst and the center’s associate director, Annie Lyerly, for their Center leadership over the past 10 years and Jon Oberlander for the support of our department. In regard to the Clinical Ethics Program’s growth over the same 10 years I would also thank Gary Gala and Benny Joyner who join me in leading our clinical ethics work within the hospital,” Davis said.

Davis is an attorney and a core faculty member in the UNC Center for Bioethics. She is also a member of the North Carolina State Bar. Davis’s work focuses on practical ethics in both clinical and research settings, drawing upon her prior experience in private practice and in pediatric and public health nursing. Within the School of Medicine and elsewhere, Davis teaches on topics related to ethics and to health law. She is an active member of the UNC Academy of Educators and has served on several educational committees within the School of Medicine. At UNC Hospitals, she co-directs the Hospital Ethics Committee. As Director of UNC Hospitals’ Clinical Ethics Service, she conducts or supervises ethics consultation for patients throughout the quaternary hospital system, offers educational programs for GME and hospital staff, and helps develop policy guidance at the intersections of law and ethics.