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David Adams

Getting to know our faculty

Professor David Adams has worked in the Department of Philosophy for over 30 years and serves as the clinical ethicist at Pomona Valley Hospital. Adams specializes in bioethics, philosophy of law, applied ethics, and clinical medical ethics.

Through his role as a clinical ethicist at Pomona Valley Hospital, Adams has developed a clinical ethics practicum course that provides students with the unique opportunity to shadow him while he works at the hospital. Students learn first-hand from Adams, as he guides patients, their families, and professional staff at the hospital on ethical, legal, and policy issues that arise in the care of patients. Students have the opportunity to participate in ethics committee meetings and in ethics training for nurses and doctors. This course prepares them for becoming practicing ethicists.

What is one thing you would like others to know about your profession?

It is important for people to know that there are professionals trained in ethics working in the private sector and in government agencies, who are there to help people grapple with difficult ethical problems, many of which have to be fully resolved. In the medical field, ethical issues are not uncommon, and there are resources available in healthcare facilities that can be called upon for help. With every medical breakthrough comes new ethical issues. My role is to help people see the issues involved, to sort through conflicting values and beliefs, and (if possible) to reach a consensus that allows the parties to move forward.

Who is a person living or deceased you wish you could meet?

Philosophers of ancient times, such as Socrates and Plato. We have books filled with what we think they believed, but to really get to know them and understand their views would be wonderful. 

What would a great day be for you?

It starts with a strong Turkish coffee, then a really interesting book about ancient history, music, or ethics. Then taking a walk with my wife, coming home, and playing my guitar.