Bioethicist, Attorney, Author Joins Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Lisa Martinelli joined the adjunct faculty of Saint Vincent Seminary in the spring 2024 semester. She is a bioethicist, attorney, educator, and author.

With close to three decades in healthcare, she is the former chief privacy and data ethics officer at Highmark Health where she established the organization’s first department overseeing consumer and enterprise privacy. She recently established the first clinical ethics program at Allegheny Health Network and is the author of Stakeholders and Ethics in Healthcare: Ethical Accountability for Organizations (Routledge Publishing). She is the president of Lead with Ethics, where she focuses on organizational ethics, bioethics, clinical ethics consultation, and the ethics of care for the vulnerable.

Martinelli earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science, summa cum laude, and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s degree in pastoral theology and a doctorate in healthcare ethics, with a concentration on Catholic bioethics, from Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit.

She is an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems, Public Policy, and Management, an adjunct professor of Catholic healthcare ethics at Saint Vincent College, and a past adjunct professor of privacy law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Dr. Martinelli serves on several boards, supporting organizations whose mission, vision and values align with hers. She is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Frederick Honors College of the University of Pittsburgh, the Board of Trustees of Achieva, the Finance Council of the Diocese of Greensburg, and is the Pennsylvania president of the Board of Councilors, Eastern Lieutenancy, of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem—a lay ecclesiastical Order of the Roman Catholic Church supporting the Church’s work in the Holy Land.

She also serves her home parish of Mother of Sorrows, in Murrysville. Now in its 18th year, she developed a faith formation and sacramental preparation ministry for children and adolescents with autism and other developmental and intellectual challenges at Mother of Sorrows.

Dr. Martinelli’s course Catholic Health Care Ethics, introduces students to the principles and current issues in Catholic bioethics, examining them through the lens of the Church’s tradition and teaching that underscores the sanctity and dignity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Within the context of authentic Catholic teaching, with a particular concentration on the USCCB Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, students are exploring some of the most challenging and difficult moral and medical issues in contemporary healthcare, such as abortion, IVF and reproductive technologies, gene editing, medically assisted suicide and euthanasia, gender identity/transgenderism, human enhancement, and moral distress—to name a few. The class combines Socratic-style pedagogy with actual case study review and group consultation discussion. By providing a “boots on the ground and at the bedside” perspective, students are developing skills needed for resolution of difficult health care ethics questions, preparing them for pastoral and spiritual responsibilities.