Portrait of Ryan Pferdehirt.

Ryan Pferdehirt, D.Bioethics, HEC-C

Ryan Pferdehirt is the Vice President of Ethics Services at the Center for Practical Bioethics. He is also an Instructor of Bioethics of Kansas City University. His work focuses on supporting healthcare organizations in the development of ethics committees and departments and works to grow competencies of member ethics committees, individual consultants, and the general public. He works with hospitals, hospices, and clinical associations nationwide providing workshops and ethics consultation services.

His research areas include moral philosophy, end-of-life ethics, Catholic health care ethics, philosophy of language, and advance care planning ethics. He has spoken extensively on implementing ethical decision-making into standard patient care, utilizing a framework for clinical ethics consultations, and the importance of word choice in clinical conversations. He has published articles and book chapters on the development of hospital ethics committees, the impact of labeling patients as noncompliant/nonadherent, and the importance of professionalism in communicating with patients and their families. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s degree from Creighton University, and his doctorate from Loyola University Chicago.

Ryan previously served as the Department Chair and Bioethicist for MultiCare Health System, a multiple hospital health system in the Seattle/Tacoma area. In that role, he oversaw all aspects of bioethics services for the South Sound region and hospitals in Spokane. Ryan also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Puget Sound in the Religious Studies and Bioethics department. He taught several classes including Clinical Bioethics, Practicum in Bioethics, and developed and managed a clinical ethics internship with the local hospital system. Ryan spoke frequently in the Seattle/Tacoma area, with an on-going lecture series, “Conversations in Medical Ethics,” at the University of Washington Tacoma. Topics included moral distress in clinical ethics, cultural and media depictions of medicine compared to the real world, and the limits of clinical ethics going forward. He also led a community project with Hospice Foundation of America’s “Being Mortal” Project, presented frequent lectures for the Bioethics Club at the University of Puget Sound, and trainings/grand rounds for local palliative and ethics departments and community events. Before moving to the Pacific Northwest, he worked for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in patient relations, as well as volunteering in the clinical ethics and palliative medicine departments. He also worked for a local bioethics startup company as the developer of ethics content, serving as the philosophical bioethics expert.

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