Mary Anne Urlakis, Ph.D. – President, Executive Director & Co-Founder

Dicet Personalem

As the President, Co-Founder, and Executive Director of the Dignitas Personae Institute for Nascent Human Life, Inc., it is my profound hope to develop a perduring charitable organization committed to the mission of defending and promoting the Magisterial teaching regarding the sanctity of every nascent human life- particularly embryonic nascent human life- from the first instant of conception to natural death. I hope to pilot a vital organization that will defend both the personhood and dignity of each tiny human life and the beauty of God’s plan for procreation through scholarship, advocacy, policy formation – and most especially –  through continued robust prayer.


Classically lettered in Philosophy and Bioethics, Dr. Urlakis has served as an independent bioethicist, providing ethical consultation, support, and advocacy to individuals and institutions. Dr. Urlakis holds numerous graduate degrees and graduate certificates in Philosophy, Bioethics, and Theology, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Theology. Her work continues to involve research, particularly within the scope of the history of medical ethical praxis, the philosophical and theological underpinnings of sound moral reasoning, and the value of Virtue Ethics and Natural Law Theory. Cognizant that every human person bears the indelible imprint of the Imago Dei from the moment of conception, Dr. Urlakis remains committed to defending the rights of vulnerable human persons, specifically those at the edges of life – the unborn, the terminally ill, and the elderly.

Dr. Mary Anne Urlakis is a board member of WCAT Radio and hosts two WCAT Radio programs: “Inter Vitam et Mortem: Between Life and Death: Interviews and Discussion with a Catholic Bioethicist,” and “Vows, Vocations, and Promises: Discerning the Call of Love.” ,” . She is the Co-founder and former Executive Director of the Donum Vitae Institute, a division of the Children First Foundation, dedicated to the sanctity of nascent human life. Dr. Urlakis is also a member of the board of directors for Sacred Heart Guardians and Shelter, a charitable organization dedicated to attending to the spiritual and corporal needs of the tiniest members of the family by providing a dignified Christian burial for embryos who die in IVF laboratories. .

Dr. Urlakis has a background in both Basic Science and Graduate Education, she was the former Program Coordinator for the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Health Information Technology Center and worked in basic science laboratories for a number of years.  She was the first graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Graduate Program in Bioethics in 1994 and has taught numerous graduate and undergraduate level courses in bioethics, philosophy, applied ethics, and business ethics. Dr. Urlakis is currently a faculty presenter for the Wisconsin Division of the Catholic Psychotherapy Association. She is involved in numerous Pro-life organizations and activities, including recurrently testifying in support of Pro-life legislation before Committees of the Wisconsin State Legislature.  

Among Dr. Mary Anne Urlakis’ invited presentations and publications are the following:

– Invited presentation-speaker and panelist, “The Influences of Secularism in Graduate School Training and Beyond,” Catholic Psychotherapy Association, Wisconsin Region, 16 October 2020.

The Sanctity of Marriage: Foreword to Chapter 1, (p. 33-47) in:  Mary and Bioethics, by Francis Etheredge, En Route Books and Media, 15 April 2020.

General Foreword (p. 5-29) in: Conception: An Icon of the Beginning, by Francis Etheredge, En Route Books and Media, 26 July 2020.

“Humanae Vitae – Fifty Years Later: Sign of Contradiction, Vindication, and Pastoral Considerations,” in Seminary Journal, Spring 2018 Issue.

– Invited presentation- “Humanae Vitae Fifty Years Later: History, Significance, and Current Bioethical Implications,” 30 October 2018.

Archdiocese of Milwaukee Symposium: Humanae Vitae Bishops’ Conference: A Celebration: 50th Anniversary of the Landmark Encyclical.

General Foreword (p 1-22) in: The Human Person: A Bioethical Word, by Francis Etheredge, En Route Books and Media, June 2017.

“A Case Study Analysis of Ethical Issues in Long Term Care,” Dissertation | 8 February 2005

“A Bioethical Analysis of the Use of Anencephalic Infants as Organ Sources,” Thesis | 1 April 1994

“The Health Information Technology Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin,” in the Wisconsin Medical Journal, [co-authors: William Hendee and Mary Blackwelder] April 1994.

9 Feb 2021