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Faculty Bios

  • M. Sara Rosenthal, PhD

    Dr. Rosenthal received all of her academic training at the University of Toronto, and she received her doctorate in bioethics from the University of Toronto's Joint Centre for Bioethics.

    Dr. Rosenthal is Professor and Founding Director, University of Kentucky Program for Bioethics, Departments of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Behavioral Science. She is Chair of the University of Kentucky Medical Center's Hospital Ethics Committee and directs its clinical ethics consultation service. She is also faculty at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Kentucky; in this capacity, she also directs the Research Ethics Consultation Service, also known as "benchside ethics" consults.

    Dr. Rosenthal's research interests focus on endocrine ethics, reproductive ethics, and clinical ethics, including her novel multimedia work on the topic, moral distress ( Dr. Rosenthal is Past Chair of the American Thyroid Association's Ethics Advisory Committee, and also a member of The Endocrine Society, the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, and the Association of Bioethics Program Directors. She is the author of over 50 publications; has served as the bioethicist on numerous clinical practice guidelines, and has delivered over 150 scholarly presentations nationally and internationally.

    For additional information about Dr. Rosenthal, please visit her website.

  • Rebecca B. Yarrison, PhD

    Dr. Yarrison serves as Associate Professor for the Program for Bioethics in the Department of Internal Medicine with cross appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Philosophy and the College of Nursing. Dr. Yarrison graduated with distinction and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in philosophy. She did her graduate work at Rice University in Houston and earned her PhD in philosophy after completing the biomedical ethics track, which is a joint program between Rice and Baylor College of Medicine. She also received a graduate certificate in the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality from Rice. Before coming to UK, Dr. Yarrison was assistant professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics at Baylor College of Medicine, where she co-coordinated the Ethics Program at the Methodist Hospital, Texas Medical Center.

    Dr. Yarrison's faculty role at UK is clinical ethicist and educator. As a clinical ethicist, she is responsible for providing clinical ethics consultation, training volunteer ethics consultants and supporting clinical activities with ethics-related expertise.

    Support for clinical activities includes rounding with various medical teams and participation in policy development and working groups that confront ethics issues.

    As an educator, it is her role to provide healthcare ethics education at all levels - from undergraduate students to physician faculty. This includes undergraduate teaching; participation in medical, nursing and other health profession training programs; medical resident and fellow education; and providing continuing medical education in ethics for physicians and hospital staff.

    In addition, Dr. Yarrison is the faculty liaison for Schwartz Rounds™ at all three UK HealthCare sites and is the Founder and Director for the new Kentucky Healthcare Ethics Consortium (KYHEC), a statewide initiative to provide ethics-related networking, training and resources to all Kentucky healthcare institutions.

  • Caroline A. Buchanan, PhD

    Dr. Buchanan is an Instructor with the UK Program for Bioethics. She received her PhD in Philosophy in 2017 from the University of Kentucky and completed a Bioethics Internship at UK prior to joining the Program for Bioethics as a Post-Doctoral Scholar.

    Dr. Buchanan wrote her dissertation on personhood and autonomy in 19th century German philosophy, and has presented numerous papers on topics in the history of philosophy. She has taught a wide variety of upper level university courses, including business ethics, feminist theory, political and social philosophy, existential philosophy, issues in death and dying, and the history of modern philosophy, as well as many introductory-level philosophy courses. In the hospital setting, Dr. Buchanan has given presentations on ethical issues covering a wide range of topics, including outpatient cancer care and hospital care for refugee patients.

    Dr. Buchanan is an active member of the Clinical Ethics Consultation Service; she rounds throughout the hospital and serves on the hospital ethics committee; and she leads ethics education conferences for multiple units. Dr. Buchanan’s research interests include reproductive ethics, definitions of personhood and capacity, research and laboratory ethics, and ethics of surrogate decision-making.