Contact Info

Email: tmay@hudsonalpha.org
Phone: (256) 327-9703
Location: 601 Genome Way, Huntsville, AL 35806

Thomas May, PhD

How genetics can address adoptee’s lack of health history

Thomas May, PhD, researches issues at the intersection of medicine, public health and moral/social/political philosophy, with a special interest in issues related to autonomy and healthcare. He has focused on issues of how autonomy relates to self-identity and well-being; the role of autonomy in deciding how rights to genomic information, as well as rights to genomic ignorance, should be framed; and the assessment of risk within the context of other-regarding implications that emerge from genomic information. May’s approach is to carefully parse the relevant considerations, outcomes and justifications salient to healthcare decision-making, and through this to balance potential benefits and risks in a way that is appropriately contextualized to the patient, condition and provider circumstances that frame decision-making. In addition to publishing two books and many articles on autonomy in leading philosophy journals, he has published on related topics in Nature, Science, Pediatrics, Vaccine, American Journal of Public Health, and Milbank Quarterly.

May has served as an advisor to the the National Vaccine Program Office, the Florida Department of Health; the State of Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, and the State of Wisconsin on Emergency Preparedness. He has twice chaired the Ethics Forum of the American Public Health Association, and has served on the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Philosophy and Medicine.

May earned his PhD in philosophy from Bowling Green State University in 1994 followed by fellowships at the University of Minnesota Center for Biomedical Ethics and in the department of bioethics at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He was the director of the Clinical Ethics Center at Memorial Medical Center/Southern Illinois University School of Medicine from 1997 until 2001 and joined the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) in Milwaukee in 2000 where he was director of graduate studies in bioethics, held the Ursula Von der Ruhr endowed chair in bioethics and served on an advisory board overseeing identification of appropriate candidates for a cooperative MCW-Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin pilot program for whole genome sequencing of children suffering from health conditions of unknown cause.

1995-1996 Fellow, Department of Bioethics Cleveland Clinic Foundation

1994-1995 Postdoctoral Fellow, Adjunct Faculty in Philosophy, University of Minnesota Center for Biomedical Ethics

1994 PhD in Philosophy, Bowling Green State University

1990 MA in Philosophy, Bowling Green State University

1988 BA in Philosophy and Political Science, Otterbein College

2017 Research Faculty Investigator, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

2016 Senior Scientist, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

2015 Affiliate Faculty, Institute for Health and Aging, University of California, San Francisco

2011 Ursula Von der Ruhr Professor of Bioethics, Medical College of Wisconsin

2000 Director, Graduate Program In Bioethics, Associate Professor of Bioethics, Center for the Study of Bioethics, Medical College of Wisconsin

1997- 2001 Director, Clinical Ethics Center, Adjunct Associate Professor (1998), Department of Medical Humanities, Memorial Medical Center and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

1996-1997 Ethics Educator, Clinical Ethics Center, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Humanities, Memorial Medical Center and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

1990-1994 Independent Teaching Fellow in Philosophy, Bowling Green State University

1992Visiting Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool

1988-1990Teaching/Research Assistant in Philosophy, Bowling Green State University

1993 University (non-service) Fellowship, Bowling Green State University

1992 Charles E. Shanklin Award for Research Excellence, Bowling Green State University

1990 PhD in Philosophy, Bowling Green State University

1990 Charles E. Shanklin Award for Research Excellence, Bowling Green State University

Recent News

June 20, 2018
The arrest of the alleged Golden State Killer on DNA Day brought closure to victims’ families and law enforcement - but at what price? That’s the question posed in a new Perspective article in the New England Journal of Medici...
October 3, 2017
HudsonAlpha bioethicist Tom May, PhD, sat down with Your Health Radio to discuss the challenges faced by adoptees and others who don’t have access to their genetic relative’s health history. Your Health is a weekly one-hour r...
October 2, 2017
HudsonAlpha and Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine were recently featured in a special edition of Rare Revolution Magazine.   Rare Revolution is a UK-based digital magazine giving a voice to patients affected by rare condit...
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