Global health ethics

Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics


WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics (CCs) are key institutions with relevant expertise distributed throughout the world. They represent a valuable resource as an extended and integral arm of WHO's capacity to implement its ethics mandate.

The scientific validity of WHO's work on ethics is enhanced by ongoing collaboration and dialogue with academic centres. In this respect, WHO encourages connections and synergies between its CCs to achieve enhanced results, to facilitate resource mobilization and to strengthen (institutional) capacity, in particular at regional level.

WHO is committed to the development of CCs for Bioethics in low and middle income countries and encourages active partnership between CCs in high- and low resource settings. The Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics has been created to advance these aims.

Chair (as of 13 June 2016)

Professor Michael Selgelid

Professor Michael Selgelid is Director of the Centre for Human Bioethics and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Bioethics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Bioethics and serves on the Ethics Review Board of Médecins Sans Frontières. His main research focus is public health ethics—with emphasis on ethical issues associated with infectious diseases.

He edits a book series in Public Health Ethics Analysis for Springer and is Co-Editor of Monash Bioethics Review. Professor Selgelid earned a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University; and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego.

Among other engagements with WHO, he has served as a member of the Ethical Issues in Public Health Surveillance Guideline Development Group, Advisor at the Expert Consultation on the Use of Placebo in Vaccine Trials, and member of the Working Group on Ethical Issues in Research and Surveillance: Epidemics, Pandemics and Public Health Crises. He has also served as member of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) Working Group on H5N1 Vaccine, as Advisor on Ethical Issues in Pandemic Influenza Planning, and as a member of the Task Force Addressing Ethical Issues in TB Control and Care.

He participated as an Advisor to the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee regarding Ebola and as an Advisor to the Consultation on the Ethical Considerations for Use of Unregistered Interventions for Ebola Virus Disease, within the framework of the 2014-2015 Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa. In April 2016 he participated in the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Zika Ethics Consultation; and he is currently a member of the IHR Emergency Committee on Zika Virus and Observed Increase in Neurological Disorders and Neonatal Malformations.

List of members

Past events


  • 9th meeting: Miami, USA, 11 October 2018
  • 8th meeting: Edinburgh, UK, 13 June 2016
  • 7th meeting: Prato, Italy, 11 July 2015
  • 6th meeting: Geneva, Switzerland, 28 May 2014
  • 5th meeting: Toronto, Canada, 15-16 July 2013
  • 4th meeting: New York City, USA, 14-15 June 2012
  • 3rd meeting: Zurich, Switzerland, 18-19 August 2011
  • 2nd meeting: Toronto, Canada, 26 May 2010
  • 1st meeting: Santiago de Chile, 26 April 2009

Inaugural events

20 Avril 2015: Inaugural event for the designation of the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

13 March 2014: Designation of NUS: Centre for Biomedical Ethics (CBmE), Singapore as a collaborating centre. The inaugural event was held 2nd April 2014.

25-26 October 2010: Designation of the Institute of Biomedical Ethics in Zurich as a WHO collaborating centre. Inaugural event.

Terms of reference

They were adopted on 26 May 2010. They specify the vision, mission, membership, structure and roles and responsibilities.


The Brochure of the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics encourages applications from programs in low- and middle-income countries.

Book cover image.

The Annual Report provides an overview of Network activities in its inaugural year, including network development and collaborative projects in public health ethics and research ethics.