Glenn’s research mixes qualitative research methods with theoretical scholarship. He has directed more than two dozen bioethics and health policy research initiatives, across disciplines, universities, health systems and in state, national and international context. Most of his research has focused on these areas:

Reproductive Technology
Research resulting in major publications includes: a survey of IVF programs’ disclosures to oocyte donors, a comparative evaluation of the public policy models for genetic services in the U.K. and United States, evaluation of perceived outcomes of genetic counseling, a comparative examination of parental motivations regarding their future children in assisted reproduction vs. unassisted, study of pharmaceutical benefits organizations’ criteria for restoration to “normalcy” in male infertility, an examination of prenatal cardiac genetic testing, an examination of family models’ correlation to reproductive technology.  In their theoretical work, McGee and his co-authors have published work that applies classical American pragmatic theory to reproduction, including papers that analyzed: the meaning of infertility as disease, ethical issues in enhancement of children, the rights of children to know identity of gamete donors, a pragmatic approach to human cloning, a legal analysis of “regulation” of families in family law, an analysis of “contemporary” eugenics, and a proposal for using an “adoption model” to regulate reproductive technology.

Genetics, Genomics & Big Data
Publisher’s Weekly noted that in his book Beyond Genetics, McGee advanced the proposition that human genetic information is turning “being digital” (of Nicholas Negroponte fame) into “being genomic,” a sphere of living in which hereditary information can be understood as part of a mind-boggling sphere of data. Alongside this work, the group’s research to date has included: a study of ethical issues in commercial population genomics in Iceland, a study of informed consent to gene transfer research and gene therapy, a collaborative effort to define ethical issues in the creation of synthetic life, a review of legal issues in patenting of genes and genetic tests, the first suggestion of a public policy problem called “genetic exceptionalism,” a proposed model for “public health genetics” at CDC, and two models for Islamic governance of genetic technologies.

Clinical and Hospital Ethics
Research to date has included: a national study of ethics committees, a national study of ethics committee chairs’ attitudes toward managed care, an approach to clinical ethics and managed care, development of paradigms for clinical ethics consultation practice and for outcomes of clinical ethics, and development of a pragmatic approach to bioethics in a rural setting (Montana).

Dr. McGee’s overarching interest has been to create a pragmatic approach to bioethics. This has resulted in many journal articles, an edited book and several chapters and reference articles.

A variety of other programs and projects have resulted in publications, such as an analysis of the importance of federalism in bioethics at the government level, a formula for how much research subjects should be paid, the development of a model for pragmatic philosophy in social science-rooted bioethics, a study of results of exception from informed consent enrollment in emergency medical research study, and development of a pragmatic model for community consultation about research, the history of bioethics, and other projects. Many projects have resulted in conferences, such as the 2006 ASBH spring conference “Bioethics and Politics” that resulted from the work on federalism.

In 2001, Renée C. Fox and Judith P. Swazey published several interviews with bioethics scholars for their book project on behalf of the Acadia Institute. The full transcript of their interview with Glenn McGee is available here. A list of his publications is posted at, and selected citations at Google Scholar and on PUBMED.


  • Genetics & Parenthood
  • Genomics & Big Data
  • Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research
  • Classical Pragmatic Philosophy
  • Federalism
  • Public Health & Health Management
  • Clinical Ethics
  • Emergency Research