The ZME office has been closed and therefore can no longer answer inquiries.

The Center for Medical Ethics (ZME) was founded in 1986 by professors at the Ruhr University Bochum. The idea of providing a forum for the discussion of questions of medical ethics, intensifying it and at the same time triggering new impulses, dates back to 1985 in Bochum. The social physician Herbert Viefhues, the philosopher Hans-Martin Sass and the pediatrician and medical historian Erich Püschel took the initiative to win over interested parties from various faculties, but especially from the Faculty of Medicine, for this project. These discussions began in the summer semester of 1985. In order to ensure the greatest possible independence from institutions and committees, no inter-faculty institute and also not the form of an “associated institut” (“an-Institute”) was chosen, but that of a registered association. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

The founding meeting took place on June 24, 1986. The main motive for the foundation was that the great and unstoppable progress of technology raises the question of the contrast between technical ability and moral ought ever more intensively and anew. Particularly in medicine, the traditional ethical points of view are no longer sufficient to solve the problems and conflicts arising from new techniques and diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities in a satisfactory and convincing manner and to develop new guidelines for action. The physician in particular is increasingly required to be able to provide arguments and regulations also and especially for questions of value. The development of one’s own ethical maxims should counteract the growing tendency to regulate medical action and medical research by prescription. The public discussion in society needs to be supplemented by competent experts.

The tasks of the ZME were in the areas of research, teaching, publication and documentation in applied and biomedical ethics. Interdisciplinary and international issues as well as the development of concrete tools for research, clinic and practice formed a special focus.

The main focus of research was on ethical considerations in concrete applications in practice, clinical practice, research and legislation. As one of the first instruments in the German-speaking world, the Bochum Work Sheet for Medical Ethical Practice was developed under the leadership of Prof. Hans-Martin Sass, as a user-oriented checklist for clinical-ethical individual case diagnosis. The work sheet has been translated into 8 languages.

The series “Medizinethische Materialien” was one of the first information carriers in the Federal Republic for the establishment and development of biomedical ethics. Since 1987, 195 publications on various medical ethics topics have appeared.

For more information on the history of the ZME, see the anniversary publications:

Damit gehörte das Zentrum für Medizinische Ethik Bochum e.V. zu einen der ersten interdisziplinären Institutionen der Medizinethik im deutschsprachigen Raum. Es hat das neue Forschungsfeld und die Institutionalisierung der Medizinethik in Deutschland und besonders an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum nachhaltig geprägt und seine Aufgabe erfüllt.