Peggy Determeyer, Ph.D.

McGee Fellow in Bioethics and Aging and Director, Community Bioethics and Aging Center

A retired board-certified chaplain, Dr. Peggy Determeyer received her PhD in the Medical Humanities with a concentration in Health Care Ethics and Policy from the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston.  Her dissertation examined ways that Community Bioethics Dialogues can be used to promote individualized personal decisions and advance care planning.  Peggy believes that all of us are or will be users of health care, and need opportunities to talk about our issues and experiences.  In the Dialogues, community members engage in discussions about a variety of health care topics, including treatment outcomes, mental illness and aging, and end-of-life decision making in facilitated groups using readings, guest speakers, and participant stories.

As the McGee Fellow in Bioethics and Aging, Peggy  develops and offers programs and training for health care professionals, pastors, and others to provide humane, compassionate care for those who are ill and/or aging as well as offer support for family members.  She hosts a monthly information session, Café CHANGE (Conversations on Health and Navigating Good Elderhood), and leads a bi-monthly Grief Support Group (second and fourth Tuesdays of the month).  As the recently-named director of HHCI’s Community Bioethics and Aging Center, Peggy is also developing an ethics consultation service for community members facing health care planning issues.   Peggy and her husband have two grown children and three spoiled cats.  Together, they enjoy kayaking, sailing, and traveling, while downtime will find Peggy with a book, sometimes with one of the aforementioned cats in her lap!


  • Co-author with Howard Brody, “Medical Futility: Content in the Context of Care” in Palliative Care and Ethics, edited by Timothy E. Quill and Franklin G. Miller. Oxford University Press. 2014.
  • Co-author with Julie Kutac, “Touching the Spirit: Re-enchanting the Person in the Body” in Journal of Religion and Health, February 2018.


  • End of Life
    • Atul Gawande, Being Mortal and What Matters in the End
    • Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air
    • Ira Byock, The Four Things that Matter Most
    • Institute of Medicine, Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life
    • Sharon Kaufman, Ordinary Medicine: Extraordinary Treatments, Longer Lives, and Where to Draw the Line
    • Angelo Volandes, The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care
    • Margie Jenkins, You Only Die Once: Preparing for the End of Life with Grace and Gusto
    • Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley, Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying
  • Aging
  • Facing Challenging Times
    • Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark
    • Tim P. VanDuivendyk, The Unwanted Gift of Grief
    • Frederick Schmidt, The Dave Test: A Raw Look at Real Faith in Hard Times
    • Elizabeth Harper Neeld, Seven Choices: Finding Daylight after Loss Shatters Your World
    • Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy