Bernard Lo, MD
Faculty Scholars Program Committee

Bernard Lo, MD

  • President & CEO, The Greenwall Foundation
  • Professor Emeritus, University of California, San Francisco
  • Director Emeritus, Program in Medical Ethics, University of California, San Francisco

Bernard Lo is President & CEO of The Greenwall Foundation. Previously he was Professor of Medicine and Director of the Program in Medical Ethics at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). A member of the National Academy of Medicine, Dr. Lo has chaired NAM committees on Sharing Clinical Trial Data (2015), Conflicts of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice (2009), and Evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Acute Pain (2019). Dr. Lo chairs the external advisory board of the Multiregional Clinical Trials Network and co-chaired the Standards Working Group of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which recommended regulations for publicly funded stem cell research in California. Dr. Lo serves on the Board of Directors of Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP) and on the Medical Advisory Panel of Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

His recent articles include Beyond Legalization - Dilemmas Physicians Confront Regarding Aid in Dying and Protecting NIH’s Integrity and Trustworthiness in Public-Private Partnerships. He is the author of Resolving Ethical Dilemmas: A Guide for Clinicians (6th ed., 2019). He continues to care for a panel of primary care internal medicine patients at UCSF.

Committee Member Q & A

We asked each Committee Member four questions to gain insight into who they are and what they value in bioethics scholarship and the Faculty Scholars Program.

1. What professional activity or accomplishment are you most proud of?

Chairing an Institute of Medicine committee that issued a report on conflicts of interest (COIs) in clinical care, biomedical research, medical education, and practice guideline development. It reconceptualized COIs as situations with unacceptable probabilities of undue influence and was used by sponsors of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act to build support for a publicly accessible database of drug and device payments to physicians. In turn, this database has allowed journalists and researchers to analyze the scope of industry payments to physicians and the impact of such payments. To gain acceptance for new ways of thinking about COIs, I have addressed medical professional organizations and worked with leaders of several academic health centers regarding their COI policies.

2. In your work, how have you engaged with people who face bioethics dilemmas in their professional activities or personal lives?

My work on decision-making near the end of life grew out of my clinical work caring for patients and teaching residents and students providing inpatient care. My normative work on clinical bioethics has tried to provide practical guidance on such difficult decisions as withdrawing or withholding life-sustaining interventions – guidance that did not exist when I was a resident.

3. Who has been affected by your work in bioethics?

Physicians and nurses, researchers, leaders of biomedical institutions, and ultimately patients, their families, and research participants. I am always moved when a former student, physician or a layperson tells me that what I said or wrote helped them make a difficult decision.

4. What do you view as the greatest strength of the Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program?

Forming exciting collaborations with people trained in other disciplines. Hearing about and making suggestions about cutting-edge research on topics very different from what I am working on. Being there for people in times of big decisions, setbacks, and grief.