Daniel Wikler
Primary Faculty

Daniel Wikler

Mary B. Saltonstall Professor of Ethics and Population Health

Global Health and Population



Daniel Wikler’s current research interests are ethical issues in population and international health, including the allocation of health resources, health research involving human subjects, ethical dilemmas arising in public health practice, and ethical dimensions of global tobacco control policy.

He served as the first Staff Ethicist for the World Health Organization, and served as Staff Philosopher for the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Prof. Wikler was co-founder and second president of the International Association of Bioethics.

Professor Wikler’s published work addresses many issues in bioethics, including issues in reproduction, transplantation, and end-of-life decision-making in addition to population and international health. He served as editor of the Cambridge University Press series Studies in Philosophy and Health Policy, and is co-editor of the Oxford University Press series Population-Level Bioethics. Among his books are From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice (Cambridge), WHO’s Casebook on Ethical Issues in International Health Research; Inequalities in Health: Concepts, Measures, and Ethics (Oxford), and Measuring the Global Burden of Disease: Philosophical Dimensions (Oxford), mostly co-authored or co-edited with colleagues associated with the Harvard Program in Ethics and Health.

Prof. Wikler serves as faculty associate to a number of Harvard programs, including the Harvard Ph.D. Program in Health Policy; the Safra Center for Ethics; and Harvard Medical School’s Center for Bioethics.



HIV medication poses prescribing dilemma in poor countries

The recent discovery that an anti-HIV medication called dolutegravir can cause birth defects among pregnant women poses ethical challenges for doctors and patients in low-resource settings, according to reports. An April 19, 2019 NPR article examined the dilemma…

Zika highlights tension around public health directives

With the mosquito-borne Zika virus linked to a dramatic rise in severe birth defects in Brazil, health officials in nearby countries are advising women to delay plans to become pregnant. But women’s rights advocates have countered that the recommendations…

Health care rationed in the U.S., HSPH ethicist says

Daniel Wikler, Mary B. Saltonstall professor of population ethics and professor of ethics and population health, was interviewed Dec. 17, 2010, on Public Radio International’s The World, about health care rationing. The interview was part of a week-long…

The global organ market

Daniel Wikler, Professor of Ethics and Population Health, on the market for kidneys: "In the past, the idea that the kidneys you're born with will stay in your body as long as you stay healthy has been an…