Rebecca Pentz, PhD


Titles and Roles

Professor of Hematology and Oncology in Research Ethics
Emory University School of Medicine
Research Program
Cancer Prevention and Control


Dr. Pentz received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of California in 1970. During the early part of her career, she served as a clinical ethicist, helping patients, families and the healthcare team at the bedside to resolve ethical dilemmas, first in the community setting in Yakima, Washington and then as the sole Clinical Ethicist at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson for a decade. She joined Emory and the Winship Cancer Institute as an Associate Professor in 2002 and is now Professor of Research Ethics.

Dr. Pentz represents Emory on various national data safety monitoring boards and scientific advisory committees, including the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network, GTEx, ALS repository, St. Jude and the National Disease Research Interchange. She also provides mentorship to the Cardiology Ethics Assistant Professor, Neal Dickert, and is involved in his research and publications and to a BS prepared Ethics Fellow who is planning on attending medical school in a year.


Dr. Pentz earned her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at Pomona College in Claremont, California. She then went onto receive her Master of Arts in Philosophy at Byrn Mawr College in Byrn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Dr. Pentz completed her Doctorate of Philosophy at the University of California at Irvine in Irvine, California. 


Dr. Pentz and the ethics research team conduct empirical ethics research on topics of most importance to the Cancer Institute. The main focus is on ethical issues in early drug development, with emphases on informed consent, biobanking, return of results and genetic testing. The team designs ethics companion studies for all the multi-project grants submitted by Winship, and therefore cover wide ranging issues from the use of botanicals to health disparities. They work closely with the Winship Tissue Bank on proper informed consent and return of results. As a member of Children's Oncology Group, they conduct research on the ethical implications for the whole family of pediatric stem cell transplant.


  • PublicationsPublication Date


Dr. Pentz received The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities Distinguished Service Award 2001 for participation in the Task Force on the Status of the Field, and work on the report North American Graduate Bioethics and Humanities Training Survey Report. She is an appointed member of the Committee on Policy Issues at the Institute of Medicine.

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