Associate Professor Mark Sheehan
BA (Hons), MA (Hons)/BSc, PhD
Oxford Biomedical Research Centre Ethics Fellow
- Associate Professor
- Deputy Director of Graduate Studies (NDPH)
- Research Fellow, Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Faculty of Philosophy
Mark Sheehan is Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Ethics Fellow at the Ethox Centre. He received his PhD in Philosophy from The City University of New York, where his PhD thesis was on the nature of moral judgements. Prior to his PhD, he received an MA (Hons) and a BA (Hons)/BSc from the University of Melbourne. Prior to coming to Oxford, he was a lecturer in the Centre for Professional Ethics at Keele University, Ethics Fellow at the Mt. Sinai Medical School, New York, and Adjunct Lecturer in the Philosophy Department at The City College of New York.
His current research projects encompass a range of overlapping issues that arise in the context of population-level health research and governance and public health ethics. His current projects include:
Population-level health research:
- The nature and role of research ethics governance
- Consent and governance in population level research
- Trust and trustworthiness in the context of (i) healthcare and commercial healthcare institutions and (ii) public attitudes research
- The nature and justification of patient and public involvement in research and healthcare policy making
Public health ethics:
- The ethics of public health food policy interventions: taxes, bans and choice architectures
- The social and commercial determinants of health in policy and advertising
- Public mental health ethics
- The ethics of data use in the context of a public health model of policing
- The ethics of healthcare resource allocation with particular attention to treatments for rare diseases and the process of decision-making
He has an on-going interest in methodology in ethics and bioethics which focusses on: (i) qualitative methodologies and their relationship to ethics and ethical claims; and (ii) the nature and force of ethical arguments in practical contexts. Being close to practice and being involved in policy-making processes is ideal for understanding the way arguments and evidence function. These contexts provide a perfect environment for thinking about qualitative methods and their relationship to ethical, social, and political claims.
As BRC Ethics Fellow, Mark is involved in Research Ethics and Governance as well as Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) across the Oxford NIHR BRC themes. This involvement includes discussions with researchers about research ethics issues in their work, collaborating on research proposals with ethical components and conducting research on issues in research ethics, ethics generally and PPI that engage with the research themes within the BRC.
He has published in a broad range of bioethics and medical journals such as the Journal of Applied Philosophy, the Journal of Medical Ethics, the Cambridge Quarterly on Healthcare Ethics, the British Medical Journal, and the American Journal of Bioethics. With colleagues from the Centre for Professional Ethics at Keele University, he wrote an EU-funded textbook on research ethics (which can be downloaded from here)
He is a National Research Ethics Advisor for the National Research Ethics Service and a member of the Ethics Review Advisory Group for the Heath Research Authority’s Think Ethics Programme. He is a long-standing member of NICE’s Highly Specialised Technology Evaluation Committee and has been a member and previous vice chair of the Thames Valley Priorities Forum since 2008. He is Clinical Ethics Lead for Buckinghamshire NHS Trust and Ethics Advisor and Chair of the Data Ethics Committee, Thames Valley and Hampshire Police Violence Reduction Unit.
He has been an Associate Editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics Working Group on research in children and a co-leader of the Ethical Analysis of Key Concepts GECiP sub-domain for the 100K Genome Project and was recently a member and. He is also a member of the Thames Valley Priorities Committee in the NHS.
Mark teaches and has developed, led, and taught on a very large range of courses in ethics, research ethics, public health ethics and clinical ethics across the University as well as nationally and internationally. These courses have very often been aimed at practitioners and researchers as well as undergraduate and graduate students. He currently teaches Public Health Ethics to medical students and also leads a series of Public Health Ethics Masterclasses for trainee Public Health consultants. He leads Modules on the MSc in Practical Ethics and the MSc in Translational Health Sciences. He has recently taken up the role of Deputy Director of graduate Studies in NDPH.
Measuring the impact of participatory research in psychiatry: How the search for epistemic justifications obscures ethical considerations.
Friesen P. et al, (2021), Health Expect, 24 Suppl 1, 54 - 61
Ethics review of big data research: What should stay and what should be reformed?
Ferretti A. et al, (2021), BMC Med Ethics, 22
Ethical Issues in Consent for the Reuse of Data in Health Data Platforms.
McKeown A. et al, (2021), Sci Eng Ethics, 27
The ethics of grandfather clauses in healthcare resource allocation.
Wester G. et al, (2021), Bioethics, 35, 151 - 160
Development of a decision support intervention for family members of adults who lack capacity to consent to trials.
Shepherd V. et al, (2021), BMC Med Inform Decis Mak, 21
Who cares about research integrity?