MedStar Washington Hospital Center's Ethics Committee Celebrates 40 Years of Support for Ethics Excellence!
In 1982, John “Jack” Lynch, the first medical oncologist in Washington, D.C., founded the hospital’s first Ethics Committee. A few years later, driven by the needs of the hospital, its providers, patients, and families, a dedicated Center for Ethics was developed. In 2022, the committee celebrates 40 years of continued ethics support for MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Today, the John J. Lynch, MD Center for Ethics serves as MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s Department of Bioethics, with a consultative section that responds to approximately 400 requests per year. The Lynch Center’s academic section produces internationally recognized and accredited bioethics education programming and publishes the Journal of Hospital Ethics, the only peer-reviewed and research-indexed publication from MedStar Health. The Center is additionally involved in both theoretical and clinical research resulting in policy development for the immediate institution, and continuous, leading contributions to the professional field.
Christian Carrozzo, PhD (c) is the head of bioethics education for the John J. Lynch, MD Center for Ethics, Managing Editor to the Journal of Hospital Ethics, and the founder of the Program for Neuroethics & Clinical Consciousness (PNCC) at the John J. Lynch, MD Center for Ethics. In addition, he is co-chair of the Lynch Center's subcommittee on policy and serves as consultative bioethics liaison to the neuroscience and psychiatric units of the hospital. Carrozzo is a Doctoral Candidate with the Department of Philosophy at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and was named Distinguished Alumnus in Philosophy by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University, where he now teaches. He has also served as adjunct faculty for the Department of Philosophy at The George Washington University, and the Department of Philosophy and Religion at American University. Carrozzo has published over a dozen peer-reviewed articles in the area of neuroethics and the broader philosophy of mind. He is presently both writing and co-editing a book alongside Elspeth Cameron Ritchie for Oxford University Press devoted to medical and philosophical perspectives surrounding decisional capacity. In addition, Carrozzo serves as bioethicist reviewer for the Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health Research Program (TBIPHRP) at General Dynamics. His general areas of research are the philosophy of mind and cognitive psychology, neurophilosophy, and neuroethics. His current research regards an investigation into the potential for non-conceptual, higher-level representation (e.g., mental states), and the phenomenological properties of experience that might serve as epistemological justification for the formation of non-conceptual beliefs.
Evan DeRenzo, PhD is Ethicist & Editor Emeritus with the John J. Lynch MD Center for Ethics at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C. She received her PhD in Human Development, specializing in Gerontology, from the University of Maryland and was the first Senior Staff Fellow in bioethics at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is retired adjunct faculty for The Johns Hopkins University, Graduate Program in Biotechnology. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Hospital Ethics, was the originating chairperson of the Organizational Ethics Subcommittee of the hospital’s Ethics Committee and is the author of Writing Clinical Research Protocols: Ethical Considerations (2nd Ed.) with Joel Moss, NIH and their additional co-author, Eric Singer, Rutgers University. Formerly Assistant Director, Evan has retired from her senior consultative role to devote more time to her writing projects, and her other long-term projects, such as expanding access to medical respite care for those experiencing homelessness prior to hospitalization.
Nikki Glover is Administrative Coordinator of the John J. Lynch, MD Center for Ethics. She is responsible for the management and administrative flow of the Center in support of all related projects and programming while incorporating the organization’s mission and values.
Patrick D. Herron, DBe, HEC-C is a Clinical Ethicist at the John J. Lynch, MD Center for Ethics. In addition to clinical ethics consultation work, he is a member of MedStar’s Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Council and Washington Hospital Center’s Healthcare Equality Committee. His scholarly interests include LGBTQ+ health education and advocacy; inter-professionalism education; and social media use among health professionals. Dr. Herron is an Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Family & Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine where he previously served as Director of Bioethics Education. He completed his Doctor of Bioethics at Loyola University Chicago and Master of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He co-chairs the Ethics and Humanities Educators in the Health Professions and Residency Training Affinity Group for the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. Dr. Herron also serves on the Advisory Board for Medical Student Pride Alliance and is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Academy for Professionalism in Health Care.
Benjamin Krohmal, JD, HEC-C is Director of the John J. Lynch, MD Center for Ethics and is responsible for the daily operations and management of the Center. Krohmal conducts scholarly research in bioethics and serves as a clinical ethics consultant. He is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Before joining MedStar, Krohmal spent nearly a decade as a senior attorney at a multinational firm, where he specialized in anti-corruption compliance and enforcement and settled the largest international corruption case in the healthcare industry. His scholarship addresses topics including COVID-19, physician aid-in-dying, surrogate decision-making, “dual use” research, international research ethics, and just access to healthcare. Krohmal completed a fellowship in the Bioethics Department at the National Institutes of Health, graduated from Boston College Law School (Cum Laude and Order of the Coif) and received a BA in biology and philosophy from the University of Virginia (Highest Honors and Phi Beta Kappa). Krohmal is barred in Washington, D.C., and in New York.
Susannah “Suzy” Lee, JD, MPH, HEC-C is a Clinical Ethicist at the John J. Lynch, MD Center for Ethics. In addition to clinical ethics consultation work, she co-chairs the Center’s subcommittee on policy, engages in bioethics research and education, and conducts quality improvement projects. Her scholarship addresses patients’ rights, advance care planning, and using the law to as a tool to promote both access to and quality in health care services. She completed a Clinical Ethics Fellowship at Wellstar Health System in Atlanta, GA. She received her JD from the University of Virginia School of Law, her MPH in Health Policy from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and her BA in history from the University of Richmond. She completed a Legal and Administrative Fellowship at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, LA. She is barred in the District of Columbia.
Lucia D. Wocial, PhD, FAAN, RN, HEC-C is Senior Clinical Ethicist at the John J. Lynch, MD Center for Ethics. Dr. Wocial has been a registered nurse since 1985. Her clinical background is neonatal intensive care, both as a nurse and as a neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist. Her current research focuses on moral distress of professional caregivers, with a particular interest on clinicians who practice in the in-patient setting. Prior to joining the Lynch Center, she served as the nurse ethicist and remains a senior affiliate faculty at the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics at Indiana University Health) in Indianapolis, Indiana and as an adjunct assistant professor for the Indiana University School of Nursing in Indianapolis. She is a certified Healthcare Ethics Consultant and serves on the Commission for Healthcare Clinical Ethics Consultation Certification. She is a senior associate faculty for Vital Talk.
John “Jack” Lynch, MD (1928-2016) founded the Center for Ethics, which developed from the work of the hospital’s ethics committee, also first convened by Dr. Lynch in 1982. Dr. Lynch was Associate Director of the Washington Cancer Institute and held the positions of Medical Director for the Center for Ethics, Ethics Committee Chair, and Medical Editor to the Journal of Hospital Ethics throughout his over 50 years at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Dr. Lynch was a pioneer in clinical bioethics, served on countless committees, and published dozens of articles on medical oncology and physician ethics. Dr. Lynch argued for the common sense view that an ethical regard for patients, families, and one’s fellow clinical providers was a natural extension of virtuous medical practice. In furthering this philosophy, the Moral Courage Awards were established in his name in 2010. The John J. Lynch, MD Moral Courage Awards is a yearly hospital program designed to recognize associates and staff at MedStar Washington Hospital Center who have exhibited the virtue of courage while confronted with ethically challenging clinical circumstances. The Center for Ethics was named after Dr. Lynch on December 9th, 2016.
Michael Pottash, MD, MPH is a physician of palliative medicine at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and associate professor of clinical medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He completed fellowships in palliative medicine and clinical ethics at North Shore University Hospital and a certificate program in bioethics at Hofstra University School of Law. He trained in primary care internal medicine at Jacobi Medical Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine after completing medical school at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Medicine. Prior to medical school, he completed a master’s in public health at Boston University School of Public Health. Dr Pottash serves his community as vice chair of the ethics committee at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, vice chair of the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science Institutional Review Board, and as a medical editor of the Journal for Hospital Ethics at the John J Lynch, MD Center for Ethics.
Matthew P. Schreiber, MD, MHS, FCCP chairs the MedStar Washington Hospital Center Bioethics Committee and has served MedStar Health through policy development and participation in various other efforts (Ethics Consultation Sub-Committee, Learning From Every Death Committee, Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation Committee, Dying with Dignity Steering Committee) . As a practicing critical care physician, Dr. Schreiber maintains an academic interest in patient outcomes resulting in national presentations and peer-reviewed publications. He is well known to the MedStar Health system having completed both his residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Pulmonary Disease / Critical Care Medicine within the MedStar Washington Hospital Center / Georgetown University Hospital programs. Dr. Schreiber sums up his professional mantra by asking, “what can we do today to make tomorrow better for our patients?”
The Journal of Hospital Ethics
Ethics and Clinical Social Work
Ethics and Clinical Social Work (ECSW) is a bioethics continuing education (CE) program for social workers. The ECSW was developed by the Lynch Center in 2014 in response to the need of the social work community, both institutionally and across the Mid-Atlantic region, for acquiring CE credits in bioethics. The course is held over two consecutive evenings on-site at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Visiting scholars and internships
The John J. Lynch, MD Center for Ethics at MedStar Washington Hospital Center offers visiting scholar and internship opportunities, including the Program for Neuroethics and Clinical Consciousness and Clinical Bioethics Internships.
Clinical Ethics Immersion
The Clinical Ethics Immersion (CEI) is a 3 day on-site intensive course for physicians, nurses, social workers, bioethicists, and those in other related disciplines interested in developing their policies, practices, and expertise in clinical ethics consultation.