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Ethics Staff

Audiey Kao, MD, PhD

Vice President, Ethics Group

Audiey Kao, MD, PhD, graduated magna cum laude from the University of California at Berkeley with degrees in biochemistry and economics. He received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and completed his residency training in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Kao is a board certified internist and is also currently on staff in the Section of General Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago Hospital.

Dr. Kao earned a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard University, where he was a fellow of the Health Services Research Program of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. Dr. Kao's thesis research focused on trust in the patient-physician relationship in different health care delivery environments. This work was conducted at the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School in collaboration with the Prudential Center for Health Care Research. Current research and policy interests focus on issues about patient-physician communication, the role of professional associations in the health care system, economic disclosure of financial incentives, and the allocation of finite health care resources.

Bette-Jane Crigger, PhD

Director, Ethics Policy & Secretary, CEJA

Bette Crigger came to the AMA from the National Center for Ethics in Health Care at the Veterans Health Administration in Washington, DC, where she served as chief of ethics communications with editorial responsibility for all center publications. During her tenure with VA (2003–2007), Dr. Crigger also served as a member of the development team for IntegratedEthics, a national education and organizational change initiative. In addition, she was primary staff researcher and writer for VHA's National Ethics Committee and worked with the committee to develop reports on a wide range of topics, including online patient-clinician messaging, compensation to health care professionals from industry, palliative sedation, and surrogate-clinician relationships, among others.

Prior to her appointment with VA, Dr. Crigger was a member of the professional staff of The Hastings Center. Dr. Crigger joined the Hastings Center editorial staff in 1986, becoming associate editor of the Hastings Center Report in 1988. She served as senior editor of the Report and managing editor of IRB: A Review of Human Subjects Research from 1990 to 2000, and as senior editor of the revamped IRB: Ethics & Human Research from 2000 to 2002. Dr. Crigger also served as executive editor of the Hastings Center's Web site, overseeing redesign of the site in 2002. In addition to her editorial work, Dr. Crigger participated regularly in center research projects, including explorations of ethical issues in emerging genetic technologies, managed health care, agricultural biotechnology, and the clinician-patient relationship in cancer care and research. Since February 2003 she has served on the Performance and Safety Monitoring Board of The HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, NY State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University. Dr. Crigger holds a PhD in anthropology and linguistics from The University of Chicago.

Faith Lagay, PhD

Director, Ethics Resources Center

Faith Lagay, PhD came to the AMA as a Fellow at the Institute for Ethics in 2000. She joined the staff of the Ethics Resource Center (ERC) as a senior research associate in 2002 and became director of the ERC in 2003. In that role, she directs the development of products and programs that help medical students, medical educators, and physicians study and teach ethics and professionalism in medicine.

Dr. Lagay has a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University, a master’s in English from the University of Houston, and a doctorate in the medical humanities from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She has many years of experience as a writer and university-level teacher of composition and literature. She has published in the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Medical Humanities Review, The Lancet, and Free Inquiry,and has a chapter in Reading Engelhardt: Essays on the Thought of H. Tristram Engelhardt. Dr. Lagay has a keen interest in educating the medical community and the public about medical issues that demand public policy decisions. Pursuing this goal entails a commitment to the principles of deliberative democracy and its roots in the humanist tradition.

Danielle Chaet, MS

Research Associate, CEJA

Danielle Chaet joined CEJA staff in March 2010. She assists the Council by researching, developing and disseminating ethics policy and by analyzing current issues and opinions in bioethics. She also responds to inquiries concerning AMA ethics policy. 

Ms. Chaet obtained her Masters of Science in Bioethics at Union Graduate College and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in June 2009 with a focus on clinical policy and clinical ethics consultation. For her thesis, Ms. Chaet conducted survey research aimed at comparing respondent understanding of terms often included in end-of-life discussions and documents with the actual definitions of these terms. Combined with case studies focused on the harmful effects of language misinterpretations as support, the thesis promoted a value-based advance directive form and proposed specific changes to the Illinois Statutory Short Form.  She sits on the Medical Ethics Committee as a volunteer ethics consultant at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. 

Danielle graduated with her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005, with a major in Legal Studies and a focus on bioethics, as well as a certificate in Integrated Liberal Studies.

Todd Ferguson, MA, PhD

Research Associate-Education Specialist

Todd Ferguson, PhD, joined the Ethics group in June 2008. Dr. Ferguson teaches and oversees other faculty who teach ethics courses in the AMA-MCW (Medical College of Wisconsin) online Fellowship Program on Physician Ethics and Professionalism. He is also responsible for expanding the educational programming and increasing the student population in the Fellowship Program. Dr. Ferguson’s other responsibilities include developing ethics educational programming for continuing physician professional development programs and developing and implementing online/multimedia ethics educational programming for medical students, residents, and young physicians based on the AMA's Code of Medical Ethics.

Prior to joining the AMA, Dr. Ferguson served as a public health program and policy advisor for a health science research firm. His experience included work on a variety of subject matters, including HIV/AIDS, youth violence, health communication, and peer review research programs for clients such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the World Health Organization.

Dr. Ferguson received his BA (cum laude) from Trinity University with majors in English and philosophy. He received his MA and PhD in philosophy from Purdue University, specializing in social and political philosophy and applied ethics. His dissertation, Cosmopolitan Solidarity: Social-Political Integration in an Era of Globalization, explores how the various processes of globalization (social, political, economic, cultural) disrupt traditional forms of social and political integration and require new dynamic forms of transnational integration

Andrew Jager, MA

Research Associate

Andrew Jager joined the Institure for Ethics in July 2010. Mr. Jager’s research interests include looking at interventions to improve health care communication and reduce disparities and developing measures of the ethical environment in health care. Additionally, Mr. Jager manages the Communication Climate Assessment Toolkit (C•CAT) program at the AMA. Previously, he was an Academic Research Specialist at the Institute on Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mr. Jager has worked on numerous research projects on topics ranging from teen obesity to corporate governance in Latin American and European markets. Mr. Jager is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish and holds an MA in Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BA from Beloit College.

Hannah Kushnick, MA

Associate Editor, Virtual Mentor

Hannah Kushnick, MA, joined the Ethics Resource Center in 2009. She assists in the production of Virtual Mentor, AMA's online ethics journal.  Ms. Kushnick holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a master’s in bioethics from Loyola University Chicago. Her special interests include the relationship between power dynamics and the withholding or sharing of information in the patient-clinician relationship.

Philip Perry, MSJ, MA

Research Assistant, Ethics Resource Center

Phil Perry joined the Ethics Resource Center in 2003. Previously he was an independent editor for book publishers in health care, political science, education, philosophy, and religion. Mr. Perry was a contributing editor to Materials Management in Health Care(American Hospital Assn./Health Forum Publishing) 1992-2001, and senior editor of Health Care Strategic Management, a national newsletter, 1990-91. He authored Opportunities in Mental Health Care Careers (VGM/Tribune Education 1996). Mr. Perry earned an MSJ in editorial journalism from Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, and an MA in classical literature from Indiana University.

Kelly Shaw

Supervisor of Administrative Staff, Ethics Group

Kelly Shaw joined the Ethics staff in March 2007. He is responsible for assisting the Vice President with activities related to planning, budgeting, and administering AMA initiatives, coordinating the administrative needs of the Ethics Group, hiring of personnel, supervising support staff, coordinating meetings and writing assignments.

Kelly received a BA in English from Columbia University. His background includes 11 years of administrative and writing experience.

Thomas Wagner

Administrative Assistant III, Ethics Policy & CEJA

Tom Wagner joined CEJA staff in December 2005. He assists the Council and its staff with administrative duties, including meeting planning, budgeting, Web site maintenance, and publication and distribution of the Code of Medical Ethics. He is also responsible for processing inquiries concerning AMA ethics policy.

Mr. Wagner received a BGS in Public Administration in 1990 and a certificate in Meeting Planning, Conference and Exposition in 1998, both from Roosevelt University. Prior to arriving at the AMA, he worked for AIAChicago and the American Judicature Society.

Richard Weinmeyer, JD, MPhil

Senior Research Associate I

Richard Weinmeyer joined the Ethics Group in September 2013, where he contributes to the work of both CEJA and Virtual Mentor. Rick graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in political science (summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa), and received his MPhil in sociology from Cambridge University. In 2013, he completed his JD from the University of Minnesota Law School with a concentration in health law and bioethics, and received his MA in bioethics from the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics. While at Minnesota, Rick was a member of the Dean’s List and was awarded the Book Award in Sex Discrimination and the Mondale Hall Engagement Award for service to the Law School community. From 2012-2013, Rick served as the elected editor-in-chief of the law journal Law & Inequality: A Journal of Theory & Practice (Volume 31).

Prior to entering graduate school, Rick worked for an IT company that developed online assessment tools for human resource departments, and spent considerable time conducting HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) outreach for a community-based organization in Seattle, Washington. In 2006, he became a project coordinator at the University of Minnesota’s HIV/STI Intervention and Prevention Studies Program, where for four years he oversaw the implementation and data collection activities of HIV/STI prevention grants funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Rick’s research interests are in the areas of public health law, public health and medical research regulation, and bioethics.