Leigh Turner, PhD

Associate Professor, Center for Bioethics
Leigh Turner Headshot


Office Phone
Office Address

Center for Bioethics N504 Boynton
410 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States


Associate Professor, Center for Bioethics
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems
Associate Professor, School of Public Health



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Research Summary

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.

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 messNature 561 (7724): 455-457.

Turner L. 2018. Direct-to-consumer marketing of stem cell interventions by Canadian BusinessesRegenerative 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 clarityJournal 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 studiesThe Lancet Respiratory Medicine 6 (8): 579-581.

Turner L. 2018. The U.S. Direct-to-Consumer Marketplace for Autologous Stem Cell InterventionsPerspectives 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 misinformationSTAT August 6.

Snyder J, Turner L, Crooks V. 2018. Crowdfunding for Unproven Stem Cell-Based InterventionsJournal 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 analysisRegenerative 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 InterventionsCytotherapy 20 (2): 165-168.

Turner L. 2017. ClinicalTrials.gov, Stem Cells, and “Pay-to-Participate” Clinical StudiesRegenerative 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 CellsRegenerative 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 safetyBMC Public Health 17: 487: 1-10.

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

O’Donnell L., Turner L, Levine, A. 2016. The role of communication in better understanding unproven cellular therapiesCytotherapy 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 PerspectiveCytotherapy 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 DocumentsMayo Clinic Proceedings 90, 5: 567-571.

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

Turner L. 2015. U.S. Stem Cell Clinics, Patient Safety, and the FDATrends 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 tourismInternational Journal for Equity in Health 12: 94

Turner L. 2013. Transnational Medical Travel: Ethical Dimensions of Global HealthcareCambridge 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’ perspectivesBMJ 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’ perceptionsInternational Journal for Equity in Health 2013; 12: 2.

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

Turner L. 2012. Beyond “medical tourism”: Canadian companies marketing medical travelGlobalization 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 surgeryDeveloping 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 travelGlobalization 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 TravelSocial Science & Medicine 72: 726-732.

Turner L. 2011. Quality in health care and globalization of health services: accreditation and regulatory oversight of medical tourism companiesInternational 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 CareIndian 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 ConferenceJournal 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 careInternational 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 PhilippinesCambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 18: 192-196.

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

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

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

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

Turner L. 2008. Cross-border dental care: “dental tourism” and patient mobilityBritish Dental Journal 204: 553-554.

Turner L. 2008. Politics, Bioethics, and Science PolicyHEC 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 travelCanadian Family Physician 53: 1639-1641.

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

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

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

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

Turner L. 2005. From the Local to the Global: Bioethics and the Concept of CultureJournal 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 interventionsEMBO 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 DeathHealth Care Analysis 12, 2: 117-130.

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

Turner L. 2003. Life Extension Technologies: Economic, Psychological, and Social ConsiderationsHealthCare Ethics Committee Forum 15, 3: 258-273.

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

Turner L. 2003. Zones of Consensus and Zones of Conflict: Questioning the “Common Morality” Presumption in BioethicsKennedy 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.