Thoughts from the Dean

Bioethics for Transformative Times

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May 1, 2014
Bioethics for Transformative Times

Helping researchers and caregivers find their way in the changing terrain of biomedicine.

Every day, caregivers and researchers in the Harvard Medical School community and beyond must deal with rapidly evolving ethical questions that arise in the ever-shifting terrain of biomedicine.

With this in mind, HMS has transformed the Division of Medical Ethics into an independent center at HMS, the Center for Bioethics.

The Harvard Medical School community is home to world-class thinkers about the ethical dimension of new discoveries and new ways of delivering care. In this time of extraordinary change, with rapid advances in biomedical science, the Center for Bioethics will provide a crucial focal point for these discussions.

The center will build on the solid foundation of the DME in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, continuing the activities developed by the DME, including organizing the core required course “Medical Ethics and Professionalism” for students and overseeing the HMS fellowship in bioethics, which counts among its graduates many of the leaders in the Harvard medical ethics community. The center will also be home to a new master’s degree program in biomedical ethics that will welcome its first class in the fall of 2015.

Robert Truog, the HMS Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics, Anaesthesia and Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, has been named director of the center.

Bob Truog has long been a leader in advancing critical medical ethics discussions on a national and international level. As a key member of the DME for the past 10 years, he has also been instrumental in building a robust community of ethicists at HMS and throughout the Harvard biomedical community.

The center will serve as a convener for faculty who will collaborate with the ethics services at the HMS affiliates and with ethics programs at schools throughout Harvard University.

As we push back the horizons of biomedicine and explore untold new landscapes of healing, I look forward to deepening our understandings of the ethical dimensions of our work with our colleagues in the Center for Bioethics.

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