Jodi Halpern, MD, PhD
“Emotions shape your thoughts, even more when you’re not consciously feeling them.”
Jodi Halpern is a Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities in the Joint Medical Program and the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. She is the co-founder and co-lead of the Berkeley Group for the Ethics and Regulation of Innovative Technologies.
Halpern’s work brings together psychiatry, philosophy, affective forecasting and decision science to elucidate how people imagine and influence their own and each other’s future health possibilities. Her first book, From Detached Concern to Empathy: Humanizing Medical Practice was called a “seminal work” by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Her upcoming book Remaking the Self in the Wake of Illness focuses on how people facing health losses in the prime of life experience shifts in their core values and identity. Her scholarly articles focus on topics that include research and medical ethics, emotions, and decision-making and the ethics of innovative technologies. Halpern’s work appears in publications such as the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Journal of Medical Ethics, Emotion Review, Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience, Gerontology and Global Public Health as well as in popular media.
Halpern’s current scholarship focuses on how innovative technologies change how we adapt to health losses, how we view our futures and the trajectory of empathic curiosity across differences. Her new book project “Engineering Empathy” looks at the upcoming uses of technology in relationships, including using AI/robotics in caregiving (AI psychotherapy, elder and childcare) and the influence of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) on empathy across differences. Halpern is also doing embedded research with scientists developing new technologies including gene editing. Halpern is invited to present her work internationally, including at the 2018 and 2019 meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.