Leigh Turner, PhD

Associate Professor, Center for Bioethics

Leigh Turner

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-626-4830

Fax 612-624-9108

Office Address:
Center for Bioethics
N504 Boynton

Mailing Address:
Center for Bioethics
N-302 BoynHS
410 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Associate Professor, Center for Bioethics

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems

Associate Professor, School of Public Health


Research Summary/Interests

Leigh Turner is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics, School of Public Health, and College of Pharmacy. With co-editors Jill Hodges and Ann Marie Kimball, Turner edited 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 research addresses ethical, legal, and regulatory issues associated with clinics engaged in direct-to-consumer marketing of unproven and unlicensed cell-based interventions. Turner is also the author of numerous publications examining ethical issues related transnational medical travel (also known as “medical tourism”) and globalization of health care.

Google Scholar Profile
ORCID Profile.

Prior Academic and Clinical 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. Turner also served as a clinical ethicist at McGill University Health Centre. 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. He received his PhD from the School of Religion & Social Ethics at the University of Southern California..

Visiting Fellowships

Turner has been a visiting scholar or fellow at the Brocher Foundation, Institute for Advanced Study, Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas, Radboud University Nijmegen, and the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs. 


Sipp D., Robey, P., and Turner L. 2018. Clear up this stem-cell mess. Nature 561 (7724): 455-457.

Turner L. 2018. Direct-to-consumer marketing of stem cell interventions by Canadian Businesses. Regenerative Medicine 13 (6): 643-658.

Zarzeczny A., Atkins H., Illes J., Kimmelman J., Master Z., Robillard J., Snyder J., Turner L., Zettler P., Caulfield P. 2018. The stem cell market and policy options: a call for clarity. Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 1-16.

Wagner D., Turner L., Panoskaltsis-Mortari A., Weiss D., Ikonomou L. 2018. Co-opting of ClinicalTrials.gov by patient-funded studies. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine 6 (8): 579-581.

Turner L. 2018. The U.S. Direct-to-Consumer Marketplace for Autologous Stem Cell Interventions. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 61, 1: 7-24.

Snyder J., Turner L. 2018. Selling stem cell ‘treatments’ as research: prospective customer perspectives from crowdfunding campaigns. Regenerative Medicine 13 (4): 375-384.

Snyder J., Turner L., Crooks V. 2018. Crowdfunding for unproven stem cell procedures wastes money and spreads misinformation. STAT August 6.

Snyder J, Turner L, Crooks V. 2018. Crowdfunding for Unproven Stem Cell-Based Interventions. Journal of the American Medical Association 319, 18: 1935-1936.

Knoepfler P., Turner L. 2018. The FDA and the US direct-to-consumer marketplace for stem cell interventions: a temporal analysis. Regenerative Medicine 13 (1): 19-27.

Weiss D., Turner L., Levine A., Ikonomou L. 2018. Medical Societies, Patient Education Initiatives, Public Debate, and the Marketing of Unproven Stem Cell Interventions. Cytotherapy 20 (2): 165-168.

Turner L. 2017. ClinicalTrials.gov, Stem Cells, and “Pay-to-Participate” Clinical Studies. Regenerative Medicine. 12 (6): 705-719.

Martins Martinho A., Turner L. 2017. Stem Cells in Court: Historical Trends in U.S. Legal Cases Related to Stem Cells. Regenerative Medicine 12 (4): 419-430.

Crooks V., Whitmore, R., Snyder J., Turner, L. 2017. Ensure that you are well aware of the risks you are taking…”: Actions and activities medical tourists’ informal caregivers can undertake to protect their health and safety. BMC Public Health 17: 487: 1-10.

Turner L., Knoepfler P. 2016. Selling Stem Cells in the USA: Assessing the Direct-to-Consumer Industry. Cell Stem Cell 19 (2): 154-157.

O’Donnell L., Turner L, Levine, A. 2016. The role of communication in better understanding unproven cellular therapies. Cytotherapy 18, 1: 143-148.

Dominici M., Nichols K., Srivastava A., Weiss D., Eldridge P., Cuende N., Deans R., Rasko J., Levine A., Turner L., Griffith D., O’Donnell L., Forte M., Mason C., Wagena E., Janssen W., Norton R., Wall, D., Ho H., Ruiz M., Wilton S., Horwitz E., Gunter K. 2015. Positioning a scientific community on unproven cellular therapies: The 2015 International Society for Cellular Therapy Perspective. Cytotherapy 1: 1663-1666.

Turner L. 2015. Federal Regulatory Oversight of U.S. Clinics Marketing Adipose-derived Autologous Stem Cell Interventions: Insights from Three New FDA Draft Guidance Documents. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 90, 5: 567-571.

Turner L. 2015. U.S. Clinics Marketing Unproven and Unlicensed Adipose-derived Autologous “Stem Cell” Interventions. Regenerative Medicine 10, 4: 397-402.

Turner L. 2015. U.S. Stem Cell Clinics, Patient Safety, and the FDA. Trends in Molecular Medicine 21, 5: 271-273.

Casey, V, Crooks V, Snyder J, Turner L. 2014. Knowledge brokers, companions, and navigators: a qualitative examination of informal caregivers’ roles in medical tourism. International Journal for Equity in Health 12: 94

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

Casey V, Crooks V, Snyder J, Turner L. 2013. ‘You’re dealing with an emotionally charged individual…’: an industry perspective on the challenges posed by medical tourists’ informal caregiver-companions. Globalization and Health 9: 31.

Crooks V, Turner L, Cohen G, 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.

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

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: 1-16.

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 & 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. 2010. 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. Does Bioethics Exist? Journal of Medical Ethics 35: 778-780.

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

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

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

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

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. Politics, Bioethics, and Science Policy. HEC Forum 20, 1: 29-47.

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

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, and 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.

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

McConnel C, and Turner L. 2005. Medicine, ageing and human longevity: The economics and ethics of anti-ageing interventions. EMBO reports 6: S59-S62.

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

Turner L. 2004. Life Extension Research: Health, Illness, and Death. Health Care Analysis 12, 2: 117-130.

Turner L. 2004. Biotechnology, Bioethics, and anti-aging interventions. Trends in Biotechnology 22, 5: 219-221.

Turner L. 2004. Ethics Board Review of Biomedical Research: Improving the Process. Drug Discovery Today 9, 1: 8-12.

Turner L. 2004. Television on the Cutting Edge: Cosmetic Surgery Goes Prime-Time. Virtual Mentor: Ethics Journal of the American Medical Association 6, 10. http://virtualmentor.ama-assn.org/2004/10/msoc1-0410.html

Turner L. 2004. Bioethic$ Inc. Nature Biotechnology 22, 8: 947-948.

Turner L. 2004. Biotechnology as Religion. Nature Biotechnology 22, 6: 659-660.

Turner L. 2004. Science, politics, and the President’s Council on Bioethics. Nature Biotechnology 22, 5: 509-510.

Turner L. 2004. Is Repugnance Wise? Visceral Responses to Biotechnology. Nature Biotechnology 22, 3: 269-270.

Turner L. 2004. Graduate Education and Employment Opportunities in Bioethics. Nature Biotechnology 22, 2: 247-249.

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. Life Extension Technologies: Economic, Psychological, and Social Considerations. HealthCare Ethics Committee Forum 15, 3: 258-273.

Turner L. 2003. Bioethics in a Multicultural world: Medicine and Morality in Pluralistic Settings. Health Care Analysis 11, 2: 99-117.

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. 2003. Time to drop the language of “consensus.” Nature Biotechnology 21, 12: 1433.

Turner L. 2003. The tyranny of “genethics.” Nature Biotechnology 21, 11: 15.