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Franciscan Doctor-ethicist Named to Bioethics Commission
Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Monday, April 12, 2010
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Franciscan Daniel P. Sulmasy, a physician and an ethicist, is pictured in a 2008 photo.
WASHINGTON (CNS)—Franciscan Brother Daniel Sulmasy, a medical doctor who also holds a doctorate in philosophy, has been named to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

The White House announced the appointment of Brother Sulmasy and nine others April 7. They join university presidents Amy Gutmann and James Wagner, whose appointments as chairwoman and vice chairman of the commission were announced in November.

Brother Sulmasy, 54, currently works at the University of Chicago, where he is professor of medicine and ethics in the department of medicine and the Divinity School. He is also associate director of the university's MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

He previously held faculty positions at New York Medical College, where he was director of the Bioethics Institute, and at Georgetown University in Washington, where he was director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics.

Brother Sulmasy called the appointment "quite an honor and a pleasant surprise."

"I testified in 2006 to a previous presidential ethics council, but I never expected to become a member of such a group," he added in a statement.

The White House said the commission "will advise the president on bioethical issues that may emerge from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology ... with the goal of identifying and promoting policies and practices that ensure scientific research, health care delivery and technological innovation are conducted in an ethically responsible manner."

In addition to Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, and Wagner, president of Emory University in Atlanta, commission members include: Lonnie Ali, an advocate for awareness of Parkinson's disease who is married to former boxer Muhammad Ali; Anita L. Allen, a professor of law and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School; Barbara Atkinson, executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center and executive dean of the university's School of Medicine; Nita A. Farahany, associate professor of law and philosophy at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.; and Dr. Alexander G. Garza, assistant secretary for health affairs and chief medical officer for the Department of Homeland Security.

Others appointed April 7 included Christine Grady, acting chief of the bioethics department at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center; Dr. Stephen L. Hauser, chairman of the neurology department at the University of California-San Francisco; Raju Kucherlapati, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital; and Dr. Nelson Michael, director of the division of retrovirology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and director of the U.S. Military HIV Research program.

"I am grateful that these impressive individuals have decided to dedicate their talent and experience to this important commission," said President Barack Obama in a statement. "I look forward to their recommendations."

The commission is the successor to the President's Council on Bioethics created by President George W. Bush in 2001 and dissolved by Obama's executive order in June.

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