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Mary Faith Marshall

Professor of Biomedical Ethics, University of Virginia

Mary Faith Marshall is the Director of the Center for Health Humanities and Ethics and Director of the Program in Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. With her colleagues Lois Shepherd and Julia Taylor, she co-founded its program, Studies in Reproductive Ethics and Justice. She is Professor of Public Health Sciences in the School of Medicine, and Professor in the Department of Acute and Specialty Care in the School of Nursing. She co-chairs the UVA Health System Ethics Committee, directs its Ethics Consult Service, and serves on its Moral Distress Consult Service. Her expertise includes reproductive, clinical and research ethics, and moral distress.

She is past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) and the American Association for Bioethics. She served on the ASBH Health Care Ethics Certification Task Force from 2016-2017 and is a member of the inaugural class of Health Care Ethics Consultants to be certified by the ASBH (2019). She is an elected fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine where she chairs the SCCM Ethics Committee. In 2017 and 2019 she received SCCM Presidential Citations for Outstanding Contributions to the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Marshall received the Trailblazer Award from the NAACP (Charleston Chapter) in 1999 for her work in policy approaches to perinatal substance use disorder, and has testified on this subject before Congress and in US District Court. She was a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Ethics for eleven years, and is the primary author of its Opinion #664, Refusal of Medically Recommended Treatment During Pregnancy. She is a member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Bioethics.

Dr. Marshall has served on a number of National Institutes of Health Boards, including the NIAID Division of Aids Prevention Africa DSMB and its International DSMB for Africa. She chaired the first NIH review panel on Global Health Research Involving Human Subjects. She also chaired the National Human Research Subjects Protections Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and has been a special consultant to the DHHS Secretary on research related to children and prisoners. She was an expert advisor on the Committee on Assessing the System for Protecting Human Research at the Institute of Medicine.

Dr. Marshall received her BA, BSN and PhD from the University of Virginia, where she was the Paddock Graduate Fellow in Biomedical Ethics. She was a critical care nurse at UVA for eleven years. Her research interests include moral distress, coercive interventions in pregnancy, policy approaches to perinatal substance use disorder, clinical ethics, human subjects protections and research ethics. Dr. Marshall is former Associate Dean of Social Medicine and Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota (UMN) Medical School, and Co-Director of the UMN Center for Bioethics in the Academic Health Center.


  • –present
    Professor of Biomedical Ethics, University of Virginia