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Senior Staff

Marion Danis, MD
Head, Section on Ethics and Health Policy
Department of Bioethics

Academic Degrees
BA, University of Chicago
MD, University of Chicago


Phone: 301-435-8727

 Portrait of Marion Danis


Dr. Marion Danis also serves as chief of the Clinical Center's Bioethics Consultation Service. Her research has focused on strategies for balancing the competing concerns of respect for patient preferences and fair distribution of limited resources. She has conducted studies on advance directives and the effect of patient preferences in end-of-life treatment decisions. Her current work is centered on strategies for public engagement in the rationing of health care, which led Dr. Danis to collaborate with Susan Goold (of University of Michigan Medical School) to design CHAT, "Choosing Healthplans All Together," a simulation exercise.

She is particularly interested in increasing access to care and improving the health of disadvantaged populations. Toward this end she has studied the priorities of low income urban populations regarding interventions to address the social determinants of health and reduce health disparities.

Following medical school, Dr. Danis trained in internal and critical care medicine at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She served on the faculty of the Division of General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology at UNC before coming to NIH in 1997. While at UNC, she also directed the medical intensive care unit, chaired the UNC Hospitals Ethics Committee, and served as a faculty member of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and as a research associate at the Cecil G.Sheps Health Services Research Center. In addition, she has chaired the Ethics Committee of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

Selected Honors and Awards

Clinical Center Director's Award, 2005; Paul Ellwood Award 2003, Foundation for Accountability; Internal Medicine Specialty Award, 2002, Society of Critical Care Medicine; Mark S. Ehrenreich Prize in Healthcare Ethics, 2002; President's Citation Award, Society of Critical Care Medicine, 1998; Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society; and Christer Grenvik Memorial Award for Leadership in Ethical Issues of Critical Care Medicine, Foundation for Critical Care; Society of Critical Care Medicine President's Citation Award 2010; Best Doctors 2010.

From 2008 to 2010 she served as Chair of the International Society on Priorities in Health Care and Secretary of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities.

Selected Publications

Books and Book Chapters

Danis M, Clancy C, Churchill LR. Eds. Ethical Dimensions of Health Policy, Oxford University Press, New York 2002

Clancy CM and Danis M. Setting Priorities: American Style in The Global Challenge of Health Care Rationing. Ham C and Coulter A, Eds. Open University Press, 1999

Danis M. Role of Ethnicity, Race, Religion, and Socio-Economic Status in End of Life Care in the ICU in The Transition From Cure to Comfort: Managing Death in the Intensive Care Unit. Curtis JR and Rubenfeld GD, Eds. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2000

Fetters MD, Danis M. We live too short, and die too long: On Japanese and US physicians' caregiving practices and approaches to withholding life-sustaining treatments. In Caring for The Elderly in Japan and the US. Long SO, Ed. Routledge, London, 2000

Danis M and Patrick DL. Health policy, vulnerability, and vulnerable populations in Ethical Dimensions of Health Policy, Danis M, Clancy C, Churchill LR, Eds. Oxford University Press, New York 2002

Evidence-Based Medicine and Managed Care in Ethical Issues of Evidence Based –Practice in Medicine and Health Care: A Discussion of the Ethical Issues. Meulen R t, Biller-Andorno N, Lenk C and Lie R. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht, 2005

Kurlander JE and Danis M. Organizational Ethics in Health Care in Principles of Health Care Ethics. Ashcroft RE, Dawson A, Draper H, McMillan J. Wiley and Sons, West Sussex, 2006

Danis M, Silverman H, Emanuel E. Ethical considerations in managing critically ill patients. In Critical Care Medicine: Principles of Diagnosis and Management in the Adult, 3rd Edition  Parillo J and Phil Dellinger P. Eds. Mosby 2008

Danis M, Hanson LC, Garrett JM. Experimental methods in Methods in Medical Ethics, Second Edition. Sugarman J and Sulmasy D, Eds. Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC, 2010

Selected Journal Articles

Danis M, Patrick DL, Southerland LI, Green ML. Patients' and Families' Preferences for Medical Intensive Care. JAMA 1988; 260:797-802.

Danis M, Churchill LR. Autonomy and the Common Weal. Hastings Center Report 1991; 21:25-31.

Danis M, Southerland LI, Garrett JM, Smith JL, Hielema F, Pickard G, Egner DM, Patrick DL. A Prospective Study of Advance Directives for Life-Sustaining Care. New Engl J Med 1991; 324:882-888.

Danis M, Biddle A, Goold SD. Insurance benefit preferences of the low-income uninsured. J Gen Intern Med 2002;17: 125-133.

Goold SD, Biddle SK, Klipp G, Hall CN, Danis M. Choosing Healthplans All Together: A deliberative exercise for allocating limited health care resources. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law 2005;30:563-601.

Hurst SA, Slowther AM, Forde R, Pegoraro R, Reiter-Theil S, Perrier A, Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer E, Danis M. Prevalence and determinants of physician bedside rationing: Data from Europe. J Gen Intern Med. 2006; 21:1138-1143.

Ginsburg M, Goold SD, Danis M. (De)constructing "Basic": Consumers Define The Core Elements Of Coverage Health Affairs 2006;25:1648-1655.

Dror D, Koren R, Ost A, Binnendijk E, Vellakkal S, Danis M. Health insurance benefit packages that low income clients in India prioritize: Three criteria to estimate effectiveness of choice. Social Science and Medicine 2007 Feb;64(4):884-96.

Danis M, Lovett F, Sabik L, Adikes K, Cheng G, Aomo T. Low-income employees choose employment benefits aimed at improving the socio-economic determinants of health. Am J Public Health 2007; 97:1650-1657.

Hurst SA, Reiter-Theil S, Slowther A, Pegoraro R, Forde Reidun, Danis M. Should ethics consultants help clinicians face scarcity in their practice? Journal of Medical Ethics 2008;34:241-6.

Kotwani N, Danis M. Expanding the Current Health Care Reform Debate: Making the Case for Socio-Economic Interventions for Low Income Young Adults. Journal of Health Care Law and Policy. 2009;12:17-45.

Danis M, Ginsburg M, Goold S. Experiences of engaging the public in priority setting for health through structured small group decision exercises. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management. 2010;33:205-14.

Strech D, Hurst S, Danis M. The role of ethics committees and ethics consultation in allocation decisions. A four-stage process. Medical Care. 2010;48:821-6.

Pesce J, Kapaduwa C, Danis M. Deliberation to enhance awareness of and prioritize socioeconomic interventions for health. Social Science and Medicine. 2011;72:789-97.

This page last reviewed on 09/9/11

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