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Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
PhD, University of Toronto
Applied Psychology and Human Development
Joint Center for Bioethics
MA, University of Chicago
Dr. DeMichelis' teaching interests include health psychology, developmental psychology, moral development, medical ethics, research ethics, and critical qualitative methods. Across her courses, Dr. DeMichelis emphasizes the political dimensions of healthcare decision-making and the relational nature of human development.
Dr. DeMichelis' current research explores childhood biomedical refusal - situations in which young people and families resist or refuse forms of medical treatment. These cases raise complex and pressing question about young people’s capacity to make their own medical decisions, about who has the authority to determine the “Best Interests” of a medically fragile child, and about the limits of multicultural accommodation within the liberal institutions of settler states.
Other ongoing projects involve interdisciplinary collaboration with colleagues in applied healthcare settings. In 2018, Dr. DeMichelis worked with a team at The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto) to draft a policy on Medical Assistance in Dying. In 2016 she edited a handbook on pediatric resilience, which draws connections between health psychology, pediatric oncology, social work, and medical anthropology. At present, Dr. DeMichelis is collaborating with colleagues at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to explore political and ethical dilemmas that arise in the care of neurologically devastated infants.
Dr. DeMichelis' methodological expertise are in ethnography, case study, discourse analysis, and clinical ethics consultation. Theoretically she draws from feminist theories of relational autonomy, Foucauldian analyses of resistance, and Indigenous critiques of settler colonialism.
DeMichelis, C., (2020) Bioethics as Object of Study: Dilemmas of Immanence in Research Ethics Review. American Journal of Bioethics: Empirical Bioethics.
DeMichelis, C., Zlotnik-Shaul, R., Rapoport, A., (2020). Continuing the Conversation about Medical Assistance in Dying. Journal of Medical Ethics. 1-2.
DeMichelis, C., Zlotnik-Shaul, R., Rapoport, A., (2019) Medical Assistance in Dying at a Pediatric Hospital. Journal of Medical Ethics, 1-8
DeMichelis, C., (2018) The Best Interests Standard as a Logic of Empire: Unpacking the Political Dimensions of Parental Refusal. The American Journal of Bioethics, 83-85.
DeMichelis C., (2017) Transfusion Refusal and the Shifting Limits of Multicultural Accommodation. Journal of Qualitative Health Research. 150-161.
Edited Books and Book Chapters
DeMichelis C., & Ferrari M (Eds.) (2016) Child and Adolescent Resilience within Medical Contexts: Integrating Research and Practice. Springer Publishing Company.
DeMichelis C., (2016) “Relational Resilience: An Interdisciplinary Perspective” in DeMichelis C. & Ferrari M. (Eds) Child and Adolescent Resilience within Medical Contexts: Integrating Research and Practice. Springer Publishing Company. 1-10.
DeMichelis C., (2020) Troubling Consent and Theorizing Refusal in Pediatric Medicine. American Ethnologist Website, May 13, 2020. https://americanethnologist.org/features/reflections/troubling-consent-and-theorizing-refusal-in-pediatric-medicine