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Kimbell Kornu, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant professor of health care ethics; Assistant professor of palliative medicine
Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics

Assistant Professor
Theological Studies


  • Clinical fellow in hospice and palliative medicine at Vanderbilt University
  • Ph.D. in theology at the University of Nottingham
  • Internal Medicine Residency Training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • M.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
  • M.A.R. from Westminster Theological Seminary
  • B.S. in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University

Practice Areas

  • Internal Medicine, ABIM, 2012–2022
  • Hospice and Palliative Medicine, ABIM, 2016–2026
  • Healthcare Ethics Consultant-Certified, ASBH, 2020

Research Interests

History and philosophy of medicine; intersection of theology and medicine; medical ethics; social, philosophical and historical determinants of medicine; philosophical and theological anthropology; physician-patient relationship as it relates to phenomenology, aesthetics and ethics.

Publications and Media Placements

Journal Articles

  • Kornu K. (Under review). “Anatomy of Being, Metaphysics of Death: The Case of
  • Avicenna’s Logical Dissection.” Journal of Bioethical Inquiry.  Bach M, Thornton A, Kanna PS, Kornu K. (Revise and resubmit). “Skeletons in
  • Our Closets: The Use and Abuse of Bodies by Antebellum Medical Practitioners in Saint Louis, Missouri.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine.
  • Kornu K. (Forthcoming). “Policing the Sublime: The Metaphysical Harms of Irreligious Clinical Ethics.” Christian Bioethics. Accepted December 2020.
  • Kornu K. (2020). “Medical Ersatz Liturgies of Death: Anatomical Dissection and Organ Donation as Biopolitical Practices.” The Heythrop Journal 00: 1–15. 
  • Kornu K. (2018). “Enchanted Nature, Dissected Nature: The Case of Galen’s Anatomical Theology.” Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 39(6): 453–471.
  • Kornu K. (2017). “Asclepius against the Crucified: Medical Nihilism and Incarnational Life in Death.” Christian Bioethics 23(1): 38–59.
  • Kornu K. (2014). “The Beauty of Healing: Covenant, Eschatology, and Jonathan Edwards’ Theological Aesthetics Toward a Theology of Medicine.” Christian Bioethics  20: 43–58.

Media Interviews

Honors and Awards

  • Nominee for Alpha Sigma Nu Nancy McNeir Ring teaching award, 2019
  • International Academy for Bioethical Inquiry Fellow, 2019–present
  • Mellon Faculty Development Award, Summer 2018
  • Nominated Finalist for the Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine Faculty award, SLU School of Medicine, February 2018

Professional Organizations and Associations

  • American Society for Bioethics and Humanities
  • American Academy of Religion
  • Society of Christian Ethics

Community Work and Service

  • Board Member, New College Franklin, 2020–present
  • Ruling Elder, Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church, 2019–present.