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  Home > Faculty & Staff > Leigh Turner, PhD

Leigh Turner, PhD

Associate Professor, Center for Bioethics, School of Public Health, and College of Pharmacy; University of Minnesota

Phone:  612-626-4830
E-Mail:  turne462@umn.edu


Leigh Turner is an Associate Professor in the Center for Bioethics, School of Public Health, and College of Pharmacy. Turner’s current research examines ethical, social, and policy issues related to medical travel and the emergence of a global marketplace in health services. His research programme includes ethical and social analysis of travel for unlicensed and unproven stem cell interventions, commercial organ transplantation, cosmetic surgery, and other procedures. In addition, Turner is conducting research on governance of stem cells and the proliferation of domestic and international clinics marketing stem cell products that have not received premarketing approval by FDA or other regulatory bodies. Turner’s research draws upon methods and approaches from bioethics and social studies of medicine.

Prior Appointments

Before arriving at the University of Minnesota Turner was an Associate Professor, William Dawson Scholar, and Graduate Program Director in the Biomedical Ethics Unit at McGill University. From 1998-2000 Turner was an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics and clinical ethicist at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Turner spent 1996-1997 as Research Associate at The Hastings Center. He received his PhD from the School of Religion at the University of Southern California.

Visiting Fellowships

Turner has been a visiting scholar at several institutions. In March 2013, he was an Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholar at Radboud University Nijmegen. In 2006-2007 Turner was Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Comparative Program on Health and Society at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. From 2003 to 2004 Turner was a Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. In 1999 Turner was Visiting Scholar at the Institute for the Medical Humanities, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.


With co-editors Jill Hodges and Ann Marie Kimball, Turner recently published Risks and Challenges in Medical Tourism: Understanding the Global Market for Health Services (Praeger, 2012). With Raymond De Vries, Kristina Orfali, and Charles Bosk, Turner edited The View from Here: Bioethics and the Social Sciences (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007).

Turner’s articles have appeared in such publications as BioSocieties, British Medical Journal, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Globalization and Health, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Science, and Sociology of Health & Illness.


Hodges J, Turner L, Kimball A. (eds.) 2012. Risks and Challenges in Medical Tourism: Understanding the Global Market for Health Services. Praeger

De Vries R, Turner L, Orfali K, Bosk C. (eds.)  2007. The View from Here: Bioethics and the Social Sciences.  Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.


Stem Cells: Regulation, Ethics, and the FDA

Sipp D., and Turner L. 2012. U.S. Regulation of Stem Cells as Medical Products. Science 338: 1296-1297.

Transnational Medical Travel and the Globalization of Healthcare

Turner L. 2013. Transnational Medical Travel: Ethical Dimensions of Global Healthcare. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 22, 2: 170-180.

Crooks V., Turner L., Cohen IG., Bristeir J., Snyder J., Casey V., Whitmore R. 2013. Ethical and legal implications of the risks of medical tourism for patients: A qualitative study of Canadian health and safety representatives’ perspectives. BMJ Open 3: e002302.

Snyder J., Crooks V., Turner L., and Johnston R. 2013. Understanding the impacts of medical tourism on health human resources in Barbados: a prospective, qualitative study of stakeholders’ perceptions. International Journal for Equity in Health 2013; 12: 2. 1-11.

Turner L. 2012. Beyond “medical tourism”: Canadian companies marketing medical travel. Globalization and Health 8: 16.

Turner L. 2012. Making Canada a Destination for Medical Tourists: Why Canadian Provinces Should Not Try to Become “Mayo Clinics of the North”. Healthcare Policy 7: 18-25.

Turner L. 2012. Canada’s turbulent medical tourism industry. Canadian Family Physician 58: 371-373.

Turner L. 2012. News media reports of patient deaths following “medical tourism” for cosmetic surgery and bariatric surgery. Developing World Bioethics 12: 21-34.

Turner, L. 2011. “Canadian Medical Tourism Companies That Have Exited the Marketplace: Content Analysis of Websites Used to Market Transnational Medical Travel.” Globalization and Health 7:40: 16.

Crooks, V., Turner, L., Snyder, J., Johnston, R., Kingsbury, P. 2011. “Promoting Medical Tourism to India: Messages, Images and the Marketing of International Patient Travel.” Social Science and Medicine 72: 726-732.

Turner, L. 2011.“Quality in health care and globalization of health services: accreditation and regulatory oversight of medical tourism companies.” International Journal for Quality in Health Care 23: 1-7.

Runnels, V., Turner, L. 2011. “Bioethics and Transnational Medical Travel: India, ‘Medical Tourism’, and the Globalization of Health Care.” Indian Journal of Medical Ethics 1: 42-44.

Snyder, J., Crooks, V., Turner, L. 2011. “Issues and Challenges in Research on the Ethics of Medical Tourism: Reflections from a Conference.” Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 8: 3-6.

Turner, L. 2010. “The Coming Backlash Against ‘Medical Tourism’”. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 126, 6: 326-327.

Turner, L. 2010. “’Medical tourism’ and the global marketplace in health services: U.S. patients, international hospitals, and the search for affordable health care.” International Journal of Health Services 40: 443-467.

Turner, L. 2009. “Commercial Organ Transplantation in the Philippines.Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 18: 192-196.  

Turner, L. 2009. “Dental tourism: cross-border travel for dental care.Journal of the Canadian Dental Association 75, 2: 123-125.

Turner, L. 2008. “’Medical tourism’ initiatives should exclude commercial organ transplantation.Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 101 (8): 391-394.  

Turner, L. 2008. “Cross-border dental care: ‘dental tourism’ and patient mobility.British Dental Journal 204: 553-554.

Turner, L. 2008. Let’s wave goodbye to “transplant tourism”.  British Medical Journal 336: 1377.      

Turner, L. 2007. “Medical tourism: Family medicine and international health-related travel.Canadian Family Physician 53: 1639-1641. 

Turner, L. 2007. “From Durham to Delhi: ‘Medical Tourism’ and the Global Economy.”  In, Comparative Program on Health and Society Lupina Foundation Working Papers Series 2006-2007. Ed., Bianca Seaton. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.        

Turner, L. 2007. “’First World Health Care at Third World Prices’: Globalization, Bioethics, and Medical Tourism. BioSocieties 2: 303-325.  

Turner, L. 2007. “Canadian Medicare and the Global Health Care Bazaar”.  Policy Options September: 73-77.     

Bioethics & Social Studies of Medicine

Turner, L. 2009. “Anthropological and Sociological Critiques of Bioethics.Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 6: 83-98.  

Turner, L. 2009. “Bioethics and Social Studies of Medicine: Overlapping Concerns.Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 18: 36-42.

De Vries, R., Turner, L., Orfali, K., Bosk, C. 2007. “Social Science and bioethics: morality from the ground up.” Clinical Ethics 2, 1: 33-35.  

De Vries, R., Turner, L., Orfali, K., Bosk, C. 2006. “Social science and bioethics: the way forward.Sociology of Health & Illness 28, 6: 665-677. 

Turner, L. 2005. “Bioethics, Social Class, and the Sociological Imagination.Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.” 14: 374-378. 

Bioethics, Culture & Religion

Turner, L. 2009. “Does Bioethics Exist?Journal of Medical Ethics 35: 778-780. 

Turner, L. 2005. “From the Local to the Global: Bioethics and the Concept of Culture.Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30, 3: 305-320.

Turner, L. 2005. “Is cultural sensitivity sometimes insensitive?Canadian Family Physician 51: 478-480.

Turner, L. 2004. “Bioethics in pluralistic societies.Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 7: 201-208.

Turner, L. 2003. “Bioethics and Religions: Religious Traditions and Understandings of Morality, Health, and Illness.” Health Care Analysis 11, 3: 181-197.

Turner, L. 2003. “Zones of Consensus and Zones of Conflict: Questioning the ‘Common Morality’ Presumption in Bioethics.Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 13, 3: 193-218.

Turner, L. 2002. “Bioethics and end-of-life care in multi-ethnic settings: cultural diversity in Canada and the United States of America.Mortality 7, 3: 285-301.  

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