Bioethics Blogs

Introducing the Bioethics Commission’s New Educational Resource: “Classroom Discussion Guide on Ethics and Incidental Findings”

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released a new discussion guide titled “Classroom Discussion Guide on Ethics and Incidental Findings.” This guide is designed to facilitate students’ engagement with the ethical issues surrounding incidental and secondary findings. This guide builds on the work of the Bioethics Commission’s report Anticipate and Communicate: Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings in the Clinical, Research, and Direct-to-Consumer Contexts

This guide introduces students of various levels to the ethical issues related to incidental and secondary findings. The guide provides a set of discussion questions to help students understand, evaluate, and reflect on these ethical challenges. The guide also includes three case studies that demonstrate the real-life impact that incidental and secondary findings have had in clinical, research, and direct-to-consumer settings.

This guide is part of a series of classroom discussion guides that have been developed for students at various educational levels, and includes discussion guides on ethical issues related to public health emergencies and neuroscience. We have also developed a series of teaching tools, including topic-based modules, case studies, deliberative scenarios, and empirical research resources. All resources are available for free download, and can be integrated into existing science or ethics curricula, or used to create a new course.

Please stay tuned for forthcoming educational materials, including a new deliberative scenario and teacher companion about incidental findings.

All Bioethics Commission educational materials are free and available at The Bioethics Commission encourages feedback on its materials at

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.