David Obree

Archie Duncan Fellow in Medical Ethics and Fellow in Medical Education

  • Usher Institute
  • College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

Contact details



Usher Institute – University of Edinburgh
Old Medical School
Teviot Place

Post code


David is the Archie Duncan Fellow in Medical Ethics and Fellow in Medical Education at The Usher Institute, with responsibility for teaching medical ethics to medical and medical science undergraduates. With degrees in dentistry, drama and medical ethics David has a special interest in how the humanities (especially film, and vinyl records from the 1970s) can help illustrate and stimulate thought about the complex moral dilemmas that occur in clinical medicine.


Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS, University of Bristol),  Bachelor of Arts (BA Hons, Drama, University of Bristol),  Master of Science (MSc, Medical Ethics and Law, University of Bristol),  Postgraduate Certificate in General Dental Practice (University of London),   Diploma in General Dental Practice (Royal College of Surgeons, England),  Member of College of General Dentistry (MGCDent),  Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health,  Clinical Educator Programme Level 3 (University of Edinburgh/NHS Lothian)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Theme lead Medical Ethics Legal and Professional Responsibilities MBChB, HCP-Med

Deputy lead Health, Ethics and Society MBChB Y1 module

University of Liverpool External Examiner 

Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, London, visiting lecturer

Institute of Medical Ethics, Scotland and Northern Ireland Teaching Group

Peer Reviewer BMC Medical Ethics (Springer Nature)

Peer Reviewer Journal of Medical Ethics  (BMJ Group)

Conference details

Edinburgh April 2022 - The Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Group End of Life Choices - Presentation on teaching end of life issues and observations on the Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill


Edinburgh March 2021 - Ethics Chatter Special with Mona Siddiqui (Live webinar)  - Living and dying well in the age of Covid (Organiser, chair)


Leeds July 2020 - Student Clinical Ethics Forum - Summer Ethics Webinar - How stories help us understand the ethical world (Speaker)


London January 2020 - The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London, Faculty of the History and Philosophy of Medicine (Diploma in Philosophy of Medicine) - Narrative, ethics and professionalism (Speaker)


Liverpool March 2018 - The Walton Centre Liverpool MRCS Neurosurgery Teaching Day - Professional ethics (inc GMC guidance on raising concerns in surgery) (Speaker)


Edinburgh April 2017 - Edinburgh University Medical Ethics and Humanities Society - Evolution of Medical Ethics - Impact on Quality and Safety with Steve Bolsin  (Organiser)


London January 2017Public Health Registrar Training Day (London Deanery) – A Pictorial Introduction to Public Health Ethics (Speaker)


Chicago August 2016International Dental Ethics and Law Society Annual Conference – Professional Governance and Regulation (Speaker)


Edinburgh June 2016International Association of Bioethics Annual Conference – Bioethics Teaching and the Narrative Arts (Speaker)







In the press


Glastonbury Festival 2010 - Lost Luggage - Music and dance show (Performer)

BBC News Scotland August 2020 - Transgender sperm donation news item

Guardian Newspaper Agust 2020https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/aug/26/mother-louise-anderson-legal-fight-save-dead-transgender-daughters-sperm-scotland


Ethical Issues (in Reproductive Medicine) (with Elizabeth Layden) Chapter 22 in Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology 5th Edition June 2022 (Elsevier) https://www.elsevier.com/books/clinical-obstetrics-and-gynaecology/layden/978-0-7020-8513-0


Equality of restraint: Reframing road safety through the ethics of private motorised transport  Adrian L. Davis, David Obree Journal of Transport and Health Vol 19 Dec 2020

[National road safety policy reference: https://www.transport.gov.scot/media/49193/scotlands-road-safety-framework-to-2030.pdf]


Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Health Needs Assessment for England (Contributor/Consultation panel) (2020) (PHE)



The Ethics of Synthetic Biology (Chapter 7) in Oxford University Press Primer in Mammalian Synthetic Biology (2019) (Ed. Jamie Davies) (Oxford University Press) https://global.oup.com/ukhe/product/mammalian-synthetic-biology-9780198841548?cc=gb&lang=en&


The Special Ethics of Dentistry (with Andrew Trathen) in The Clinical Ethics Handbook (2018) (Ed. Andrew Papanikitas, John Spicer) (Routledge) https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/edit/10.1201/9781315155487/handbook-primary-care-ethics-andrew-papanikitas-john-spicer


ADEE undergraduate learning outcomes in ethics, professionalism, law (2015) (co-author) (ADEE)



Theme lead Medical Ethics Legal and Professional Responsibilities MBChB, including HCP-Med

Contributor to ethics teaching for medical science and biomedical science undergraduates