Elizabeth Yuko

You were learning about bioethics when you were watching sitcoms and you didn’t even know it.

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is also an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham University and has written for print and online publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and Playboy. Yuko has given a TEDx talk on The Golden Girls and bioethics, and has appeared on The Travel Channel show Mysteries at the Museum and Buzzfeed’s live morning show, AM2DM.

Popular Virtual Topic

A Bioethicist Explains The Coronavirus

As COVID-19 reshapes the nation, Dr. Yuko’s expertise has become essential. Her recent articles for Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue,  and Lifehacker have covered this “new normal” from a wide range of perspectives. This online presentation explores:

  • Overcoming moral fatigue 
  • The ethics (and etiquette) of social distancing
  • How the virus is reshaping religion and faith
  • Strategies for good mental health in an extended quarantine

At at time when science offers the only path to survival, Dr. Yuko remains an informed and reassuring guide. This talk will demystify the pandemic and inspire a healthy response to the enormous challenges it brings.

Popular Live Topics

Everything I Know About Bioethics I Learned from The Golden Girls

Picture it: [Show Location], 2019. A swarthy, young bioethicist uses one of the greatest sitcoms of all time to illustrate the application of the principles of bioethics. Throughout its run from 1985-1992, The Golden Girls was truly ahead of its time, addressing numerous complex issues, including conceiving via in vitro fertilization, human enhancement, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and stigmatization, organ donation, sexual health, body modification, end-of-life issues, and cryopreservation. For many who grew up watching the show either during its original run or in syndication, The Golden Girls was their first exposure to these, and other ethical dilemmas and the resulting decision-making process. Join Dr. Elizabeth Yuko for an introduction to and discussion of bioethics through clips and case studies from The Golden Girls. Who better to learn about autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice from than Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia? 

The Ethics of Humans on Display: From Sideshows to Reality Shows

Humans have always been fascinated by other humans. But with human curiosities come multiple ethical dilemmas. Is exploitation occurring? Was informed consent a consideration? How have people with varying physical abilities been treated? What do Coney Island sideshows have to do with neonatal intensive care? How did we get from Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks to Honey Boo Boo and the Long Island Medium? We’ll be revisiting instances of humans on display throughout history — from Daisy and Violet Hilton, to Paris and Nicky Hilton — and considering the ethical issues involved with performing, producing, and consuming this form of entertainment.

Let’s Get Ethical: Exploring Bioethics Through a Pop Culture Lens

Never heard of bioethics? You’re not alone. Maybe you have firsthand experience making a complex medical decision – or maybe you’ve just seen it happen on TV. For many people, their first exposure to issues in bioethics – like end-of-life questions, reproductive technology, experimental treatment, or organ donation – is through storylines we see play out in movies and in television. Join bioethicist Dr. Elizabeth Yuko for an inside look into how our some of our favorite parts of pop culture can be effective learning tools in helping us understand complex medical and healthcare questions. 

Praise for Elizabeth Yuko


Bitch Media

What “The Golden Girls” Taught Me About Bioethics by Elizabeth Yuko

New York Times

Elizabeth Yuko weighs the ethics of artificial wombs.

The Atlantic

Elizabeth Yuko on why the first artificial insemination, over 100 years ago, was an ethical nightmare.