Massachusetts Medical Society: Ethics Forum Speaker Bios

Ethics Forum Speaker Bios

2021 Interim Meeting Ethics Forum

Vaccines, Doctors, and Patients: Medical Ethics in the Era of COVID-19

Rebecca W. Brendel, MD, JD

Rebecca W. Brendel, MD, JD

Dr. Brendel is director of the Master’s Degree Program at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics, of which she is also an associate director. She bases her clinical work in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital where she is the director of Law and Ethics at the Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior. She is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Rebecca W. Brendel, M.D., J.D. is the president-elect American Psychiatric Association, chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society Committee on Ethics, Grievances, and Professional Standards, and a member of the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

Dr. Brendel earned her medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. She completed her psychiatry residency at Massachusetts General and McLean Hospitals, a forensic psychiatry fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and an ethics faculty fellowship at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. She is admitted to the Massachusetts Bar.


Elliott Crigger, PhD

Elliott Crigger, PhD

Elliott is currently Director of Ethics Policy and Secretary to the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) with the American Medical Association (AMA). He joined the AMA in December 2007, from the National Center for Ethics in Health Care of the Veterans Health Administration. Elliott had hands-on ethics training on staff at The Hastings Center, a private, nonprofit research organization devoted to medical ethics and the life sciences, before joining the VA.

Elliott supports CEJA, the body within AMA charged maintaining the AMA Code of Medical Ethics by developing ethics guidance for physicians. The CEJA team provides research support and develop draft documents for CEJA review and approval, as well as providing administrative and logistic support to the council. Translation: we read a lot, write a lot, and discuss how best to balance competing values in tackling ethics issues in medicine.

Elliott’s education was at the University of Chicago from college through grad school — with a few “gap” years in San Francisco in between getting his BA and starting grad school. He spent a year in Dublin Ireland researching his dissertation; received a joint PhD, in anthropology and linguistics, in 1991.


Susan M. Miller MD, MPH, FACP, FAAFP

Susan M. Miller MD, MPH, FACP, FAAFP

Dr. Susan M. Miller is the John S. Dunn, Sr. Research Chair in General Internal Medicine at the Houston Methodist Hospital and is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Institute of Academic Medicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute. She is an Associate Professor at Weill Medical College, Cornell University.

Dr. Miller is Department Chair of Family Medicine at The Methodist Hospital. She is currently the senior Chair of the Institutional Review Board of the Methodist Hospital Research Institute and the Director of the Chao Program for International Research Ethics. In 2020, Dr. Miller became a Laureate of the Texas Chapter of the American College of Physicians.


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