About Us

Cornerstone Award Press Release

To: MacLean Center Trustees and Faculty
From: Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, Dean and EVP for Medical Affairs
Subject: MacLean Center Receives Prestigious Bioethics Award
Date: May 13, 2013

I am delighted to inform you that the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago has received the Cornerstone Award from the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) for “outstanding contributions from an institution that has helped shape the direction of the fields of bioethics and/or medical humanities.” The Center was founded and is directed by Mark Siegler, MD, the Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Surgery.

The ASBH, the leading bioethics organization in the world, has given this award to only three other institutions: the Hastings Center, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, and the Institute for Medical Humanities at Galveston, Texas. The MacLean Center is the first university program to receive this award for contributions in shaping the field of bioethics.

One of the oldest university bioethics programs in the world, the MacLean Center was the first to offer a program in “clinical ethics.” Building on the model of Sir William Osler and Alvan Feinstein, MD, a distinguished University of Chicago alumnus, the Center changed medical ethics to clinical ethics by bringing ethics to the bedside.

Since then, clinical ethics has emerged as one of the central components of the American bioethics movement. A practical, applied approach, it aims to improve patient care and outcomes and also to improve the satisfaction of health professionals with the quality of their work. Clinical ethics covers issues such as informed consent, confidentiality, end-of-life care, and the ethics of human research. These issues arise daily in medical practice, requiring physicians in both hospital and outpatient settings to be prepared to recognize and resolve them.

In granting the Cornerstone Award, the ASBH recognized the MacLean Center at the University of Chicago for:

A superb interdisciplinary faculty that now includes more than 40 University representatives from the biological sciences, the social sciences, humanities, the law school, the business school, and the divinity school.

An outstanding team of Associate Directors: Lainie Ross, MD, PhD (Pediatrics), Peter Angelos MD, PhD (Surgery), Daniel Sulmasy, MD, PhD (Medicine) and Marshall Chin MD, MPH (Medicine).

A fellowship program in clinical medical ethics that started in 1981 and has graduated 320 fellows, many of whom now hold endowed university professorships and direct clinical ethics programs in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and China.

A distinguished record of research and publications, which includes more than 150 books written by former and current faculty and fellows. The Center also hosts and provides editorial leadership for the journal Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, one of the most important international journals in the field.

One of the world’s first ethics consultation services and important contributions to the field of ethics consultations through publications and fellowship training.

A model program of interdisciplinary work at the University of Chicago that includes annual ethics conferences and, for 32 consecutive years, an annual university-wide faculty seminar series.

The award will be presented at the ASBH’s 2013 annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 25, 2013.

Please join me in congratulating Mark, the Associate Directors, and the faculty, trainees, and staff associated with the Center on the remarkable impact that they have had on such an important field. I would also like to thank and congratulate the MacLean family for their vision in helping Mark establish the Center and for the generous support that has allowed it to flourish.