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Dennis Sullivan

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Dennis M. Sullivan-- Center for Bioethics.jpg

Dennis M. Sullivan is a tenured professor at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. He is a prolific writer and speaker on bioethics, abortion, human biology, anatomy, and physiology. He has taught in Vietnam, Chad, and the Central African Republic, even served as a medical missionary in Haiti and the Central African Republic for several years. Dr. Sullivan is a member of many medical and bioethics associations, such as the American Scientific Affiliation and University Faculty for Life.

Dr. Dennis M. Sullivan
Office: ENS 279
Phone: 7573 (from off campus: 937-766-7573)

Education and Missionary Work

Dr. Sullivan's extensive educational career began upon his graduation from Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, with a Summa Cum Laude Undergraduate Degree (B.S., Chemistry) in 1974. Four years later in 1978, he earned his M.D. at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio; in 1980, he was licensed to practice medicine in Ohio. Dr. Sullivan further continued his education in Lexington, Kentucky, at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, Department of Surgery, from 1978-1980. His postgraduate training also included work for three years (1980-1983) at the Wright State University Affiliated Surgical Program in Dayton, Ohio; he was also trained in general surgery for five years [1].

After over a decade in undergraduate and graduate studies, Dr. Sullivan served on active duty in the U.S. Army, previously being an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve for six years [1]. On active duty, he served as a staff surgeon at Colonel Florence A. Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, from July 1983 to October 1985 [2].

Following his military service, Dr. Sullivan returned to education in 1986, attending Luther Rice Seminary until 1988, earning thirty-six semester hours towards a Master of Divinity degree with New Testament emphasis. He also completed an immersion French language study at the University of Laval in Quebec, Canada, in 1987-1988 (Sullivan, 1).

Dr. Sullivan then traveled with his family as a medical missionary through Baptist Mid-Missions, first in Haiti and then in Central Africa. In Cayes-Jacmel, Haiti, he worked at Emmanuel Medical Center from 1988 to 1991 [2]. In 1992, Dr. Sullivan taught Human Structure and Function at Cedarville College in Cedarville, Ohio, for one year [1]. The next year, the Sullivan family moved to the Central African Republic and Dr. Sullivan was employed at Ippy Hospital, working there until 1996 [2]. While in Central Africa, he was the Medical Director of this hospital, a facility that delivered over 600 babies annually during his time there (he has a professional knowledge of pregnancy and its complications, although not an obstetrician). Dr. Sullivan's active practice involved more than 350 major procedures a year. He and his family returned to the United States in 1996 due to civil unrest in the Central African Republic. Throughout his time as a missionary, Dr. Sullivan also worked as an instructor, teaching classroom courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology (taught in French). Other informal instruction in surgical technique, pathophysiology, and pharmacology occurred in the operating room, clinic, and hospital settings [1].

Teaching Career

Upon his return to the United States, Dr. Sullivan joined the faculty of Cedarville University and received additional instruction in philosophy and bioethics; in 2003, he became a full professor with tenure. While at Cedarville University, he has taught Human Structure and Function, Advanced Clinical Physiology, Advanced Anatomy, Introduction to Research Methods, Principles of Bioethics, Bioethics Colloquium, as well as Bioethics and the Human Experience. In 2004, Dr. Sullivan earned a master's degree in bioethics from Trinity Graduated School in Deerfield, Illinois. As a professor at Cedarville, he currently teaches human biology, which incorporates developmental biology, anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and advanced anatomy; he is also the director of Cedarville's pre-medical program [1]. In the spring semester of 2010, Dr. Sullivan and a fellow professor will be teaching an honors course entitled Body and Soul: Foundations of Human Personhood. Dr. Sullivan is also the current Director at the Center for Bioethics at Cedarville University and teaches a graduate course called Bioethics for Educators, for students in the Master of Education program [2] (Sullivan 4).

Starting in 2004, he began work as a volunteer adjunct instructor of Social and Ethical Issues in Medicine at Wright State University Medical School. His research interests include bioethics, exercise physiology, cross-cultural medicine [1] [2], theoretical ethics, metaphysics and natural law, and developmental biology. In 2009, Dr. Sullivan also began work at Trinity Graduate School, Trinity University, giving a class titled Teaching Bioethics (Sullivan 5).

Outside of the classroom, he enjoys biking, racquetball, and woodworking. Dr. Sullivan currently resides in Beavercreek, Ohio, with his wife Barbara [3] and their three daughters: Julie, Jenny, and Joy; the Sullivans also have a dog named Rascal. Through Cedarville University's Missions Involvement Service, Dr. Sullivan has led student groups to the Central African Republic and to Chad, Africa. In his community, he works as a Sunday School teacher at his church [4]. Dr. Sullivan frequently speaks on bioethics at medical schools, bioethics forums, and churches, in addition to his volunteer work at a local women's center [3]. He has presented at the Christian Medical and Dental Association Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida (June 2007), and was the keynote speaker at the Nurses Christian Fellowship Conference in Wichita, Kansas (April 2008) (Sullivan 17, 20).

International Instruction

From June 15-25, 1998, Dr. Sullivan taught as a visiting professor in the Republic of Vietnam. At the Medical College of Hue, he held a five-day seminar called "Cardiovascular Anatomy and Physiology: An Integrated Approach," as well as giving clinical lectures at Hue General Hospital: "The Abdominal Exam" and "Highly Selective Vagotomy." In another region of Vietnam, Dr. Sullivan taught a seminar on "Methods of Anatomy/Physiology Integration" at the Medical College of Hanoi. Lastly, on June 25th he hosted "Teaching Exercise Physiology," a seminar at the Medical College of Haiphong (Sullivan 11-12).

The following summer of 1999, Dr. Sullivan journeyed to Kouma Medical Center in Kouman, Chad. For African healthcare workers, he repeated the cardiovascular anatomy and physiology seminar from Vietnam, only this time he conducted it in French; in addition, he taught them "Clinical Instruction in Pathophysiology and Clinical Medicine." This trip to Chad included students from Cedarville University, and while there, Dr. Sullivan instructed them in surgery, medicine, and obstetrics (12). A later trip in August 2000 with Cedarville University students to the Central African Republic included similar courses and lectures, as well as general and ophthalmic surgery instruction in the operating room (13).

In December 1999, Dr. Sullivan returned to the Republic of Vietnam, teaching once again at the Medical College of Hanoi on "Clinical Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology: An Integrated Approach." While in Hanoi, he also conducted a clinical lecture about exercise physiology. At the Medical College of Hue, he continued giving seminars, including one for medical students concerning neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, and one for medical faculty on "Teaching Critical Thinking in Anatomy and Physiology" (12-13).


Board Memberships Life Tech Committee (since 2004) Miami Valley Women’s Center – Medical Advisory Board (since 2005) Ohio Right to Life (since 2007)

  • Trustee at Large
  • Education Committee Chairman
  • Vice-Chairman of the Board (since 2009) (Sullivan 5).

Faculty Committees Pre-Medical Advisory Committee (since 2003-2009)

  • Chair (2004-2009)
  • Critical Concern Series Panel (Sullivan 5-6).



  • Abortion: Counseling a Woman in Crisis Case Study presenting a fictional scenario followed by discussion questions.
  • Over a dozen posts of article reviews, links to podcasts, and personal reflections of Dr. Sullivan (2006-2008).
  • A Bioethics Timeline PowerPoint highlighting important events in the bioethics of recent history, including abortion, cloning, stem-cell research, and euthanasia.
  • Dr. Sullivan's bioethics blog.
  • The Conception View of Personhood: A Review Lengthy paper examining personhood from philosophical, scriptural, and biological perspectives, concluding the commencement of personhood at conception. Ethics and Medicine. p. 11-33. Vol 19:1, Spring 2003.
  • Ethics and the Embryo Powerpoint presentation at the Fifth Annual Pro-Life Science and Technology Symposium in Dayton, Ohio. A Collaborative Project of Ohio Right to Life and Cedarville University. 20 September 2008.
  • End of Life Decisions 101 Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. 17 November 2006.
  • The Oral Contraceptive as Abortifacient: An Analysis of the Evidence Article that analyzes the ethical arguments and scientific evidence for potential abortifacient effects of oral contraceptives. (Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith: 58-- September 2006: 189-195.)
  • Prepared Public Statement Professional opinion piece in support of H.B. 228 (scientifically proving the humanity of unborn children) before an Ohio committee. 13 June 2006.
  • Reproductive Technologies 101 Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity 14 February 2007.
  • Review of "Biotechnology and the Human Good" Brief, analytical article reviewing the book "Biotechnology and the Human Good" by C. Ben Mitchell, et al. Journal of Markets & Morality. Published online by the Acton Institute. 2009.
  • Stem Cell Research and Moral Complicity Online article defending the right to life of human embryonic stem cells. Posted 15 February 2006.
  • Stem Cells 101 Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. 22 September 2006.

Magazines and Journals

  • "A Blessing in Disguise." Cedarville University Torch. Spring, 2007.
  • "Biliary Tract Surgery in the Elderly." American Journal of Surgery, 143:218, 1982. (written in compilation with T.R. Hook and W.O. Griffen).
  • "Clinical Ethics Case Consultation: Is It Permissible To Forgo Emergent Restorative Surgery In This Case?" Ethics & Medicine, 25:1. Spring, 2009. (coauthored with S.A. Salladay).
  • "Common Sense Should Rule the Debate." Dayton Daily News. 28 January 2001.
  • "Complicity and Stem Cell Research: Countering the Utilitarian Argument." Ethics and Medicine 24:3 (Fall, 2008). (written with A. Costerisan).
  • "The Conception View of Personhood: A Review." Ethics and Medicine, 19:1. 2003.
  • "Defending Human Personhood: Some Insights from Natural Law." Christian Scholars Review 37:3 (Spring 2008).
  • "Euthanasia Versus Letting Die: Christian Decision-Making in Terminal Patients." Ethics and Medicine, 21:2. 2005.
  • "An Exercise Laboratory in Anatomy and Physiology." (completed rough draft; authored with W.I. Jones and A. Crommitt).
  • "Fogarty Catheter Tamponade of Ruptured Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms." Surgery, Gynecology, and Obstetrics, 154:197, 1982. (written with G.L. Hyde).
  • "Gene Therapy: Restoring Health or Playing God?" Journal of Christian Nursing 24:4. 2007. (coauthored with S.A. Salladay).
  • "Making Sense of the Stem Cell Controversy." Cedarville University Torch. Spring, 2007.
  • "The Need for Exceptions to Ethical Guidelines." National Bioethics Advisory Commission 16 February 2001.
  • "Review of Biotechnology and the Human Good." Journal of Markets and Morality 11:1. Spring 2008.
  • "Review of Embryo: A Defense of Human Life." Ethics & Medicine, 26:1. Spring, 2010.
  • "Review of Genetics: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy (Readings in Bioethics)." Ethics and Medicine 23:1. Spring, 2007.
  • "Review of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief." Ethics and Medicine 23:2. Summer, 2007.
  • "Reviving the Saracen’s Head: A Commentary on the New Biotechnologies." Ethics and Medicine, 15:3. 1999. (fellow authors: J.W. Francis and J.A. Sellers).
  • "Sorting through the Stem Cell Hype." Journal of Christian Nursing 24:4. 2007. (coauthored with K. Schoonover-Shoffner).
  • "A Thirty-Year Perspective on Personhood: How Has the Debate Changed?" Ethics and Medicine, 17:3. 2001.
  • "Would God ‘Play’ This Way?" Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 56:3. September 2004. (letter).

Chapel Messages


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Prepared Public Statement by Dr. Dennis Michael Sullivan, M.D. 13 June 2006
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Dennis M. Sullivan Science and Mathematics. Cedarville University. © Copyright 1996-2008
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Oral Contraceptive as Abortifacient: An Analysis of the Evidence Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith: 58-- September 2006: 189-195
  4. Center Staff Profiles Center for Bioethics at Cedarville University. © Copyright 1996-2008
  • Dennis Michael Sullivan, MD, MA (Ethics), FACS. Professor of Biology (Human Biology, Bioethics. Director, Center for Bioethics. Cedarville University Curriculum Vitae. February 2010.