The Department of Medical Ethics and Law was founded by merging the former two teaching and research sections: the Section of Medical Ethics (founded in 1988) and the Section of Health law (founded in 2003). After its founding, it has continued to grow and expand thanks to the work of such renowned predecessors as Prof. Peng Ruicong, Prof. Li Benfu and Prof. Song Wenzhi who were the old generation of scholars in humanities and social sciences at our university.
The department is now composed of four disciplines in humanities and social sciences such as medical ethics, health law, medical anthropology and medical social work. The chairman of the Department is Prof. Cong Yali, an acclaimed leader in the field of medical ethics, holds many other posts such as the chairman-elect of medical ethics branch of Chinese Medical Association, a member of the council of the International Association of Bioethics (IAB) and the director of Center for Ethics and Law, National Institute of Health Data at Peking University. There are 8 full-time teachers in the department, including 2 full professors, 4 associate professors, 2 lecturers and several postdoctoral researchers. It enrolls postgraduate students in such fields as medical ethics / bioethics, science and technology and society, health law, and doctoral candidates in medical ethics / bioethics, medical policy and legal history.
The principle of the department is to improve academic research, promote advanced ideas, encourage interdisciplinary research and emphasize practical application.
The goal of the department is to improve the humanistic quality of medical students and explore ways of crossing the disciplines of medical ethics, health law, medical society/anthropology, combining theory with practice, with multi-disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity in vision; explore fundamental and cutting-edge studies in medical ethics, health law, medical sociology /anthropology, medical social work, promote cross-disciplinary cooperation and provide academic support for knowledge accumulation and innovative thinking by taking advantage of the comprehensive strengths of Peking University in various fields and the professional strength of PKU Health Science Center in medical sciences, and rooting ourselves in the medical related humanity and social sciences research; draw on academic achievements from diversified sources and enhance in-depth communication with academia both at home and abroad to build a more competitive academic team; actively advocate the ethos of academic integrity, optimize academic ecologic environment and offer advice and suggestions to the state on medical humanities, ethical principles in medical humanities and social sciences, policy and legislation, and law enforcement and judicial work.
The department is responsible for the daily operation of such centers as the PKU Sino-American Center for the Study of Medical Professionalism, PKU Center for the Study of Patient safety and Doctor-patient Relationship, Chinese Medical Doctor Association, and Center for Ethics and Law, National Institute of Health Data at Peking University. Besides, it is also in charge of the edition and distribution of the two journals: China Health Law and Papers Series on Patient safety and Doctor-patient Relationship, the Peking University Center, Chinese Medical Doctor Association.
“It’s such a delight to have friends coming from afar.” Our department look forward to working with scholars at home and abroad to create a good academic environment, build a platform for cooperation and exchange, conduct academic discussions, and enhance the international influence of PKU medical humanities research.