Elizabeth Heitman, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry’s Division of Ethics and the Program in Ethics in Science and Medicine, with secondary appointments in the Department of Applied Clinical Research and the O'Donnell School of Public Health. Her work focuses on cultural aspects of ethics in clinical medicine, biomedical science, and public health, particularly international standards of research ethics and education in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). Dr. Heitman teaches research ethics and RCR in the Center for Translational Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and is an ethics facilitator for medical students. She leads ethics and RCR education for two training grants on cardiovascular health disparities research through the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and she is director / multiple principal investigator (MPI) of two international research ethics education grants from the Fogarty International Center. 

Dr. Heitman is a National Associate of the US National Research Council and has been chair or member of eight US National Academy of Sciences programs in research integrity education in the Middle East, North Africa, Indonesia, and Malaysia. In 2015-16, Dr. Heitman co-chaired the National Academies’ Committee on Gene Drive Research with Non-Human Organisms, and she is currently a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Committee on the Use of Race and Ethnicity in Biomedical Research.

Dr. Heitman came to UT Southwestern from Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, where she was a member of the Academy for Excellence in Teaching and served as a clinical ethics consultant and chair of the Ethics Committee for Vanderbilt University Hospital. She was previously on the faculty the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, Texas, and was clinical ethicist at Hermann Hospital and Lyndon Baines Johnson General Hospital.

Dr. Heitman received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies in 1988 from Rice University’s joint program in biomedical ethics with the University of Texas Houston Health Science Center. In 1990, she was a Visiting Research Fellow in the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics at King's College, London.


Rice University (1979), Romance Languages
Graduate School
Rice University (1988), Religious Studies


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Public trust in regulatory agencies and support for policies on agricultural gene drive
Buchman LW, Goldsmith CL, Heitman E, Kang KE, Liu X Review of Policy Research 2024
A model program for RCR instruction for early-career faculty investigators with NIH K Awards
Ravnik S, Heitman E Teaching Ethics 2024 24 1


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

The Ethical Dimensions of the Biological Sciences

Bulger RE, Heitman E, Reiser SJ (Ed.) (1993). New York, Cambridge University Press

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow
    American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC (2023)
  • L. C. Dorsey Research Honor Society
    Jackson Heart Study Graduate Training and Education Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center (2020)
  • National Research Council, Washington, DC, National Associate
    Lifetime Appointment (2020)
  • Thorpe Mentor Award
    University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS (2020)
  • Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy Fellow
  • Sigma Xi Scientific Honor Society
    Vanderbilt University (2015)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010)
  • American Public Health Association (1996)
  • American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities (1994)
  • Association for Clinical and Translational Science (2010)
  • Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (1998)
  • Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science (2019)