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David Toole

Associate Professor of the Practice, Theology, Ethics and Global Health
Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Initiatives | Duke Divinity School
Senior Fellow | Kenan Institute for Ethics
Divinity School
Trent 238
(919) 660-3475


Professor Toole has a joint appointment in the Global Health Institute, the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and the Divinity School. His recent courses include Global Health as a Moral Enterprise, Global Health Systems, Ethical Dimensions of Environmental Policy, Ethics and Native America, and Challenges of Living and Ethical Life. His current research centers on the role of mission hospitals in African health systems, with a particular focus on the countries of the Nile River Basin in eastern Africa. He is the author of Waiting for Godot in Sarajevo: Theological Reflections on Nihilism, Tragedy, and Apocalypse, and is currently on sabbatical completing a manuscript titled What Are Pople For? Questions Conerning What It Means to Be Human. In addition to his teaching and his research, he serves as Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Initiatives in the Divinity School and co-directs THE PLANET Project in the Kenan Institute for Ethics.



Title Number Level
Organized Compassion: Global Health as Moral Enterprise

Subjects the multi-billion dollar political and economic enterprise of global health to moral inquiry. Explores global health as the institutional organization of compassion for distant strangers that is, as a moral enterprise rooted in concern for the world's poor and disadvantaged, by considering tensions between this moral enterprise and the political and economic realities of the high-income countries and large multinational organizations that fund global health and support a vast development industry populated by thousands of non-governmental organizations; pharmaceutical and chemical corporations; and countless organizations dedicated to the advancement of medicine and health science.

Course Notes:
UG Only
Ethical Dimensions of Environmental Policy

Uses case studies from different arenas of environmental policy (e.g., climate and clean air, water and waste, forests, oceans, energy) to surface normative assumptions often implicit in policy design and implementation. Links ethics to ethos (beliefs, aspirations, and spirit of a community or culture) to suggest that policies are not only pragmatic guidelines for decision-making and action, but also fundamental declarations concerning the character of human flourishing and the shape of the natural world, which is why environmental policies are often so contentious. Seeks to help students understand this aspect of environmental policy and to negotiate these deep-seated ethical conflicts.

Course Notes:
UG Only