Ruth Groenhout


  • PhD, University of Notre Dame, 1993
  • BA, Calvin College, 1985


Ruth Groenhout is a Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her publications focus on a range of issues in bioethics and an ethics of care, and include Connected Lives: Human Nature and an Ethics of Care; Transforming Care: A Christian Vision of Nursing Practice; Bioethics: A Reformed Look at Life and Death Choices, and Feminism, Faith, Philosophy. She has written a variety of journal articles on issues such as the ethics of public health research, embodiment and the nurse-client encounter, virtue theory and feminism, and the international brain drain problem in medicine.

Her hobbies include running, quilting and gardening.

Professional experience

Ruth Groenhout was a member of the Community of Fellows at the Centre  for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, University of St Andrews, Scotland from February to April 2011.

Academic interests

  • Bioethics
  • Feminist Theory
  • Ethical Theory

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Research and scholarship

Professor Groenhout has published books on bioethics, nursing practice, human nature and the ethics of care, and the relationships between philosophy, feminism and faith. She is currently working on a monograph that analyzes social structures in medicine from the perspective of an ethics of care. She has a number of journal articles and book chapters, including recent work on medical rationing, the relationship between virtue ethics and an ethics of care, the brain drain problem in global medicine, and public health research.



 Connected Lives: Human Nature and an Ethics of Care (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).


Philosophy, Feminism, and Faith with Marya Bower (Indiana University Press, 2003).


Recent Publications/Presentations

"The 'Brain Drain' Problem: Migrating Medical Professionals and Global Heath Care" International Journal for Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 5.1 (2012): 1-24.

"The Difference Difference Makes: Public Health and the Complexities of Racial and Ethnic Research” Feminist Bioethics: At the Centre, on the Margins, Laurel Baldwin-Ragaven, Petya Fitzpatrick, and Jackie Leach Scully, eds. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009).

"The Love of God the Father: Agape and Masculinity” in Visions of Agape, Craig Boyd, ed. (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishers, 2008): 47-60.

"Environmental Rights or Responsibilities" conference on Social Justice and Human Rights, Emmanuel College of Victoria University, the University of Toronto (April 2012).

"Evidence-Based Practice and an Ethics of Care" St Andrews University Philosophy Club (April 2011).

"The 'Brain Drain' Problem: Migrating Medical Professionals and Global Health Care", 8th International Congress of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, Singapore (July 2010).

"Ethics of Care: A Brief Introduction", American Consulate, Guangzhou; Sun Yat Sen University, Guangzhou China (April 2010).

Worldview Lectures, 2009-2010, Justice and Care in Medicine: "Justice and Care," "Medicine and Technology," "Medical Technology at the Margins of Life," "Universal Health Care," "Ethics and Medical Technology," "Global Human Rights and Health Care," University of Western Ontario; McMaster University; Waterloo University; Emmanuel College; University of Toronto; Michigan State University; East China Normal University, Shanghai; Sichuan University, Chengdu; Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan; Guangzhou University Research Center for Human Rights, Guangzhou; L'Abri, Switzerland (2009-2010).

"Power and Evidence: A Feminist Analysis of Evidence based Practice” presented at FAB Biennial conference: “Voice, Power, and Responsibility in Health Care,” Rijeka, Croatia (September 2008).

"B(e)aring Autonomy: A Feminist Critique” at conference: Thinking With(Out) Borders: International Political Theory in the 21st Century, St Andrews, Scotland (June 2008).

"Bioethics and the Social Structures of Medicine” Week-long seminar presented at East China Normal University, Shanghai, China (March 2008).

Professional services

Vice chair, Faculty Senate, the Institute for Christian Studies, University of Toronto

Former President, Medical Ethics Research Network of Michigan

Chair of Ethics Committee, Region Six Emergency Preparedness Planning for Influenza Pandemic Team (2009-10) 

Editorial Board Member, Annals of Bioethics 

Professional associations

North American Society for Social Philosophy

American Philosophical Association

Feminist Association for Bioethics

Feminist Ethics and Social Theory


  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute: Development ethics and global justice: Gender, economics, and environment (2015)
  • Academic Fellow, Center for Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, St Andrews University, Scotland (2011)
  • Calvin College Worldview Lecturer, 2009-10

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