Arthur Caplan, PhD, Renowned Bioethicist, to Lead New Division of Medical Ethics in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center

March 16, 2012 - 3:11pm

NYU Langone Medical Center is pleased to announce the appointment of renowned bioethicist, Arthur Caplan, PhD, as director of the new Division of Medical Ethics in the Department of Population Health effective July 1, 2012.

Dr. Caplan joins NYU Langone from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, where he is the Sidney D. Caplan Professor of Bioethics. He is also a professor of medicine, philosophy, and psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, and a senior fellow of its Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

In his new role, Dr. Caplan will be instrumental in incorporating a strong bioethical framework into global health initiatives at NYU Langone Medical Center and New York University.

“Dr. Caplan’s extensive experience in and passion for medical ethics will be invaluable as we establish the new division and work to enhance our existing applied ethics and bioethics programs and expertise,” said Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center. “This new division will build upon our ongoing efforts to address the philosophical and practical dilemmas associated with advances in medicine and biotechnology and changes in the practice of healthcare. Dr. Caplan will not only further enhance our curriculum and programs, but will be an invaluable resource and teacher for our clinicians and researchers.”

Through January 2012, Dr. Caplan was the director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics, which he built into one of the premier programs in the world.  He chaired the Department of Medical Ethics from 2002 through 2009. Prior to joining University of Pennsylvania in 1994, Dr. Caplan taught at the University of Minnesota, the University of Pittsburgh, and Columbia University. He was the associate director of the Hastings Center from 1984 through 1987.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to come to NYU Langone Medical Center.  The presence of an outstanding medical school, health system and research university in New York City creates enormous opportunities for bioethics teaching and research,” said Dr. Caplan. “In addition, NYU’s position as a global university offers a unique environment in which to integrate multiple perspectives about emerging bioethical issues into policy and health care practice.  I look forward to joining an outstanding faculty and innovative administrators and to interacting with a dynamic and diverse student population."

Born in Boston, Dr. Caplan completed his undergraduate work at Brandeis University and his graduate work at Columbia University, where he received a PhD in the history and philosophy of science in 1979. He also holds seven honorary degrees.

Dr. Caplan is a fellow of the Hastings Center, the New York Academy of Medicine, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the American College of Legal Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the board of directors of The Franklin Institute and the Iron Disorders Foundation, the National Hemophilia Foundation’s Ethics Committee, and the Board of Visitors of the Columbia University School of Nursing. He has chaired a number of national and international committees including as the National Cancer Institute Biobanking Ethics Working Group, the Advisory Committee to the United Nations on Human Cloning, and the Advisory Committee to the Department of Health and Human Services on Blood Safety and Availability. He has also served as a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses, the special advisory committee to the International Olympic Committee on genetics and gene therapy, the ethics committee of the American Society of Gene Therapy, and the special advisory panel to the National Institutes of Mental Health on human experimentation on vulnerable subjects. Recently he served as the co-director of the Joint Council of Europe/United Nations Study on Trafficking in Organs and Body Parts and is currently the ethics advisor to the Department of Defense (DOD)/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on synthetic biology.

The author or editor of 30 books and more than 550 papers in peer-reviewed journals, he also brings his expertise to popular audiences through a regular column on bioethics for, monthly articles on bioethics and healthcare issues for WebMD/Medscape, and frequent appearances on other national and international media outlets.

Dr. Caplan has garnered many awards and honors over the years for his work, including the McGovern Medal of the American Medical Writers Association, the Franklin Award from the City of Philadelphia, and the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics for 2011. He was named a Person of the Year for 2001 from USA Today, one of the 10 most influential people in science by Discover magazine in 2008, one of the 50 most influential people in American healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine, one of the 10 most influential people in America in biotechnology by the National Journal, and one of the 10 most influential people in the ethics of biotechnology by the editors of Nature Biotechnology. 

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Lisa Greiner