Center for Bioethics Faculty and Staff
Center for Bioethics Faculty and Staff

Children's Mercy Bioethics Center (CMBC) started in the Fall of 2009. The mission of the CMBC is to analyze ethical issues in child health. We write books and papers, host international conferences, and have created this interactive web site as a resource for pediatricians and policy makers around the world. Our staff conducts research on issues that we think are important. We also take suggestions. If you have an issue that you'd like us to comment upon, let us know. 

CMBC Staff

John Lantos, MD, board-certified pediatrician and nationally-known ethicist, is the Director of CMBC. Dr. Lantos spent 21 years at the University of Chicago, most recently as Professor of Pediatrics and the Associate Chair for Academic Affairs. After two years as the John B. Francis Chair in Bioethics at the Center for Practical Bioethics, he came to Children's Mercy to start the CMBC. He received his M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and completed his residency in pediatrics at Children's Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He completed a fellowship in clinical medical ethics at the University of Chicago. He has served as president of the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics and the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities. He has written or edited five books and has published more than 250 journal articles and book chapters.

Brian Carter, MD, neonatologist and ethicist with training in ethics and palliative care, received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed his residency at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado, and his fellow ship at the University of Colorado. He served in the US Army Medical Corp until 1996, being honorably discharged as a Lieutenant Colonel. He is an editor and contributing author for one of the leading textbooks in pediatric palliative care, Palliative Care for Infants, Children and Adolescents: A Practical Handbook, and has been involved in the MOMS (Management of Myelomeningocele Study) trial of fetal surgery at Vanderbilt. Dr. Carter has extensive experience, as well as additional education in both ethics, from the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, and end-of-life care from EPEC and IPPC.

Jeremy Garrett, PhD, joined the Center in May, 2010 as Research Associate in Bioethics. He also serves as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Missouri-Kansas City. Dr. Garrett received his PhD in Philosophy from Rice University where he served for several years as Managing Editor of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. Most recently he has been an assistant professor of philosophy at California State University in Sacramento. His areas of specialization include bioethics, ethical theory and social, political and legal philosophy. Dr. Garrett has published both invited and peer-reviewed articles and has edited books on the ethics of animal research and the historical development of bioethics in the United States. His current research project on the ethics of returning individual results in genomic biobank research is funded by a grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute ( Dr. Garrett serves on the hospital Ethics Committee and organizes the Ethics Committee's monthly Ethics Brown Bag Workshop series.

Diane Plantz, MD, MA, Is a physician in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Children's Mercy Hospital.  She completed her pediatric residency at Mount Sinai in New York City and her pediatric emergency medicine fellowship at Cincinnati.  Following her fellowship, Diane received her MA in Bioethics from the Medical College of Wisconsin.  Since coming to Children's Mercy she has been active on the ethics committee and ethics consultation service.  She helped develop an ethics curriculum for residents, while also implementing a research project that helped improve the ethics consultation process.  Diane is the Course Director for the online Pediatric Bioethics Certificate Program at Children's Mercy. She has been teaching medical students, residents and fellows pediatric ethics for the past ten years and instructs a master level course in pediatric ethics.  She has written publications both in ethics and pediatric emergency medicine.

Angie Knackstedt, RN-BC, BSN, is the Health Literacy and Bioethics Clinical Coordinator at Children's Mercy Hospital.  Her role is dedicated to leading the implementation of the Children’s Mercy health literacy strategy.  In addition, she leads the efforts related to nursing ethics in the Center for Pediatric Bioethics Certificate Program.  She serves as Co-Chair of the Nursing Ethics Forum (NEF) at Children's Mercy, which is a unique forum created in 1988 to provide resources and support for nursing staff at Children's Mercy and to assist nurses in dealing with ethical issues.  Angie has given presentations on the NEF model of nursing ethics engagement at the annual meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, as well as other national meetings in nursing and nursing ethics. 

Vanessa S. Watkins, MPH, FACHE, Certificate Program Coordinator, joined the Bioethics Center in 2012. Vanessa Watkins has experience as a health care administrator and analyst spanning project management, strategic planning and strategy facilitation, community benefits reporting and quality improvement within hospital system headquarters and public health departments. She received her undergraduate degree in Community Health Education from the University of Kansas and a Masters in Public Health specializing in health services administration from San Diego State University. She is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and is a recipient of the ACHE Early Careerist Healthcare Executive Regent's Award. Vanessa manages the certificate program for the Center.

CMBC Associates

Mary Anne Jackson, MD, is the Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease. Her infectious disease fellowship training was completed at the University of Texas - Southwestern. Dr. Jackson's research focuses on strategies to reduce the incidence of hospital acquired infection, treatment of antibiotic resistant infection and vaccine implementation and education. She and her faculty have spearheaded one of the most successful programs in the country to immunize health care workers.

G. Douglas Myers, MD, is a physician in the Hematology & Oncology department focusing on hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Dr. Myers joined the hospital Ethics Committee in 2009, and became vice-chair in January, 2011. His exposure to ethics in research expanded significantly during his fellowship in hematology/oncology while participating in the Baylor College Committees at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy in Houston, Texas.

Felix Okah, MD, MS, FAAP, is a neonatologist and Director of the Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship training program. Having done his neonatal/perinatal fellowship at Children's Hospital medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dr. Okah studies moral controversies in neonatology. He has also been a member of the hospital Ethics Committee since 2009.

Dane Sommer, DMin, MDiv, BCC, is the Director of Chaplaincy Services, active in organ transplantation and recognizing the ethical issues surrounding transplantation. Dr. Sommer does ongoing work on the theology of suffering. 

Wayne Vaught, PhD, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, holds his doctorate in Philosophy and Medicine and is currently Professor of Philosophy, Medicine and Bioethics. He has served both on the Ethics Committee and the Internal Review Board at Children's Mercy Hospital, bringing his expertise of philosophy to the forefront of ethical decision making in children. Dr. Vaught's recently published articles focus on ethical issues in pediatric medicine and complementary and alternative medicine and he has served as co-editor with Robert Solomon and Clancy Martin on two anthologies: Morality and the Good Life, and Ethics Across the Professions.

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