Johan C. Bester

Director of Bioethics, Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV
Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
Expertise: Vaccines, Bioethics, Clinical Ethics, Medical Education


Johan Bester is an expert on ethical aspects of vaccinations, bioethics, medical education, and pediatric ethics. Bester has studied issues around vaccination ethics and policy, including informed consent, moral decision making and public health ethics. Bester's research specialties include clinical ethics practice, bioethical analysis, and ethics of vaccinations with an emphasis on the measles vaccination.

A former physician, Bester completed medical training in South Africa, and practiced family and emergency medicine for 12 years in a variety of settings, including South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Prior to joining the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV, Bester was a clinical assistant professor at the University of Calgary, where he developed and delivered ethics curriculum and workshops. In 2016, Bester completed a year of fellowship training in clinical ethics at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and spent an additional year on staff as a clinical ethicist. He taught bioethics in the medical school and medical center, engaged in bioethics scholarship and publication, and provided ethics consultations. 

Bester's research has been published in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, JAMA Pediatrics, AMA Journal of Ethics, and the American Journal of Bioethics, among others.


  • MB.Ch.B., Medicine and Surgery, Stellenbosch University
  • Ph.D., Philosophy, Stellenbosch University
  • M.Phil., Philosophy, Stellenbosch University

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Johan C. Bester In The News

December 13, 2021
Over the past year, 1.6 million Nevadans — or about half of the state’s population — have been inoculated against COVID-19 in a roller-coaster rollout of the vaccine.
December 13, 2021
In the past year, 1.6 million Nevadans (or about half the state's population) have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a rollercoaster-like vaccine rollout.
December 1, 2021
The 5,000 state employees and 1,400 university employees who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 could have to pay an additional $55 a month in their insurance plans as well as an additional $175 for unvaccinated dependents over the age of 18 to help recoup testing and hospitalization costs.
August 27, 2021
Metro Police have no plans to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for existing officers, despite FDA approval of the Pfizer shot and the deaths of four officers from the coronavirus.

Articles Featuring Johan C. Bester

nurse administers shot to woman
Campus News | December 29, 2021

A collection of news stories from 2021 highlighting UNLV’s continuing response to COVID-19 and faculty experts who have helped make sense of the pandemic and its impact to daily life. 

Campus News | September 7, 2021

A collection of news stories highlighting community and perseverance at UNLV.

UNLV nursing student in red shirt reviewing slide sample with peer
Campus News | August 4, 2021

A collection of news stories highlighting research, health, and community at UNLV.

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Campus News | June 8, 2021

A collection of news stories highlighting celebration, health, and progress at UNLV.