Elizabeth Heitman, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry’s Division of Ethics and the Program in Ethics in Science and Medicine. 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 also leads ethics and RCR education for two training grants on cardiovascular health disparities research through the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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 Working Group on Gene Drive Research of the NIH's Novel and Exceptional Technology and Research Advisory Committee.

Dr. Heitman is Co-director of the NIH Fogarty International Center-sponsored Collaborative Research Ethics Education Program between Mozambique’s Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and UT Southwestern. She was previously director of a similar program in Costa Rica, in collaboration with the Costa Rican National Children’s Hospital. She is a Co-Investigator and Mentor on the NHLBI-sponsored research training grants Obesity Health Disparities PRIDE and Jackson Heart Study Graduate Training and Education Center with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. 

Dr. Heitman came to UT Southwestern in late 2016 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. 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.


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


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Writing Accountability Groups Are a Tool for Academic Success: The Obesity Health Disparities PRIDE Program.
Thorpe RJ, Beech BM, Norris KC, Heitman E, Bruce MA, Ethn Dis 2020 30 2 295-304
Response to Rejoinder to "Ethical issue in the use of SMS messaging in HIV care and treatment in low- and middle-income countries: case examples from Mozambique".
Ossemane EB, Moon TD, Were MC, Heitman E J Am Med Inform Assoc 2018 May
Research ethics review at University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM)/Maputo Central Hospital, Mozambique (2013-2016): a descriptive analysis of the start-up of a new research ethics committee (REC).
Sacarlal J, Muchanga V, Mabutana C, Mabui M, Mariamo A, Cuamba AJ, Fumo LA, Silveira J, Heitman E, Moon TD BMC Med Ethics 2018 May 19 1 37
M&M conferences provide forum for discussion of ethical issues
Wall AE, Tarpley MJ, Heitman E Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons 2018


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Honors & Awards

  • National Research Council, Washington, DC, National Associate (lifetime appointment)
  • Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy Fellow
  • Vanderbilt University Sigma Xi Scientific Honor Society

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)