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GEN News Highlights : Nov 26, 2009

President Obama Establishes New Bioethics Commission

Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, was named as chair.

President Barack Obama has created a new Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues and appointed Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, to serve as chair and James W. Wagner, president of Emory University, to serve as vice chair. The committee will ultimately be composed of 13 members, it is unclear when the other 11 will be named.

This new commission will replace the council that advised the Bush administration, which President Obama disbanded earlier this year.

The President’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues will advise the President on bioethical issues that may emerge from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology.  The Commission will work with the goal of identifying and promoting policies and practices that ensure scientific research, healthcare delivery, and technological innovation are conducted in an ethically responsible manner. 

Dr. Amy Gutmann, in addition to being president of UPenn, is also the Christopher H. Browne distinguished professor of political science in the school of arts and sciences and holds secondary appointments in communications, education, and philosophy. She was previously provost at Princeton University, where she was the founding director of the University Center for Human Values—a multidisciplinary center that fosters greater research and discourse on ethics and human values. 

At Emory, Dr. Wagner has championed the role of ethics in the mission of the university by enhancing the prominence of Emory’s university-wide Center for Ethics and including ethical engagement as one of the six pillars of the University’s strategic vision.