PRESS RELEASE: 03.12.12 The Hastings Center Names Mildred Z. Solomon Next President

(Garrison, NY) The Board of Directors of The Hastings Center announced today that Dr. Mildred Z. Solomon, Senior Director for Implementation Science at the Association of American Medical Colleges and Associate Clinical Professor of Medical Ethics in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Anesthesia at Children’s Hospital Boston, will become Hastings’ next President, effective July 2012. Dr. Solomon, who is also a Hastings Center Fellow, was elected by a unanimous vote of the Center’s Board of Directors, following an international search.

She will succeed Dr. Thomas H. Murray, who last year announced his plans to step down as President after more than 13 years of leadership. Dr. Murray, who is also a Hastings Center Fellow, will continue his affiliation with Hastings as President Emeritus and Senior Research Scholar. Dr. Solomon will be the fifth president of the 43-year-old Hastings Center. Cofounder Dr. Willard Gaylin was the first president, followed by cofounder Dr. Daniel Callahan. Dr. Strachan Donnelley served as president from 1996 until 1999, when Dr. Murray took the helm.

“The Hastings Center feels doubly fortunate,” said David L. Roscoe, Board Chair. “Tom Murray has been a transformative leader for Hastings, having built a superb team that consistently creates and communicates world-class research with increasing real-world impact. As Millie Solomon takes the reins, we see powerful opportunities to build on that success. Millie’s keen intellect, persuasive powers, and leadership skills–and her strong passion for making a difference in the world–are precisely what Hastings needs to maintain its preeminence in the field of bioethics. The board is thrilled to work with her.”

“There has never been a time when our society has needed The Hastings Center more,” said Dr. Solomon. “We’re faced with critical bioethical questions that range from what counts as just health care to what the relationship should be between human communities and the natural world. What’s more, we have to address these questions at a time of political polarization, economic challenge, and ecological change.

“Yet this is also a time of great opportunity,” she continued. “I look forward to working with Hastings’ extraordinary board, its accomplished staff, and the more than 180 elected fellows of the Center. Together we will continue, and expand, The Hastings Center’s history of scholarship, while enhancing its impact on public policy, clinical and organizational practice, patient well-being, and citizen engagement.”

Dr. Solomon is a social science researcher who studies normative and empirical ethical issues in medicine, health care, and the life sciences. She has contributed to education, policy, and practice on a national and international scale in both adult and pediatric end-of-life care, organ donation, pain management, sexually transmitted disease prevention, and the protection of human research participants.

From 2006 to 2011, she served on the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Federal Advisory Panel on Organ Transplantation, which advises the Secretary on national organ transplantation policy, and on the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council’s Committee on Promoting Safe and Secure Chemical Management in Developing Countries, and she contributed to an Institute of Medicine report on the ethics of donation after cardiac death. She is also on the board of Manomet Conservation Sciences, Inc., a nonprofit organization that combines research in environmental science with community initiatives aimed at ensuring civic engagement in environmental policy.

Dr. Solomon’s first empirical ethics study revealed a number of barriers to achieving the model of decision-making near the end of life that had been espoused in national ethical and legal recommendations. The findings brought physicians’ views to the attention of bioethicists and bioethicists’ views to the attention of physicians. They were also used to design an interdisciplinary education program in collaboration with The Hastings Center, called Decisions Near the End of Life. The program was ultimately adopted by 230 hospitals in 13 states, and today is being adapted for use in Germany and Switzerland.

She has gone on to lead many other major educational programs, including The Initiative for Pediatric Palliative Care, which provided leadership training for more than 2,000 pediatric intensivists, critical care nurses, and allied health professionals, and a National Institutes of Health curriculum on ethics and the life sciences, which has been requested by 12,000 teachers.

For the past 10 years, Dr. Solomon has served as Director of the Fellowship in Medical Ethics in the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, a role that she will continue. Through this program, whose purpose is to build the bioethics capacity of the Harvard teaching hospitals, she has mentored more than 90 fellows who have gone on to take leadership roles throughout Boston hospitals and many academic medical centers in the U.S. and abroad.

“Dr. Solomon is a leader and a visionary,” said Dr. Dan Brock, Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics and Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School. “In addition to directing our fellowship, she has played a prominent role in the development of both the fields of palliative care and empirical ethics–the corner of bioethics that is concerned with developing empirical evidence to illuminate moral issues. We are delighted that she will continue her role here at Harvard, even as she assumes the helm at The Hastings Center.”

The Hastings Center does cutting-edge foundational and applied bioethics research on issues involving children and families, emerging biotechnologies, research ethics, and issues at the intersection of health policy, values, and justice. The Center’s research capacity thrived under Dr. Murray’s stewardship, and he also greatly advanced the nonpartisan Hastings Center’s visibility and its public affairs and communications capacity.

Dr. Solomon has a significant history of working with Hastings, both on research projects and by publishing in its flagship, peer-review journal, the Hastings Center Report.

With both empirical and normative expertise, as well as a longstanding commitment to translating research to new audiences, she will augment Hastings’ strong reputation in normative bioethics research and its contributions to health policy and public engagement.

“At a time when people are struggling to understand the significance of developments in medicine and science for their lives, The Hastings Center’s mission of creating and sharing knowledge has never been more vital,” said Dr. Murray. “Millie Solomon’s unsurpassed ability to bridge the gap between theory and practice coupled with her passion for making a difference make her unique. I have long admired her imagination and energy along with her perceptiveness and generosity of spirit. She is superbly well qualified to lead Hastings, and I am grateful to leave the Center and its network of friends and colleagues around the world in her capable hands.”

At the AAMC, a membership association of 137 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools, nearly 400 teaching hospitals and health systems–including 62 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers–and 89 academic and scientific societies, Dr. Solomon has been instrumental in cultivating the emerging field of implementation science, which studies how best to encourage the uptake of evidence-based practices. “Millie is a world-class research methodologist, who has always been committed to high-quality scholarship and to its application in policy and practice,” said Dr. Ann Bonham, the AAMC’s Chief Scientific Officer. “She has helped advance the AAMC’s commitment to using research to transform health and health care. We will miss her, yet we know she is perfect for this position.”

Prior to the AAMC, Dr. Solomon was a vice president at Education Development Center, Inc., a global nonprofit research and development organization with headquarters in Newton, Mass., and offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., and 25 other countries. There, she led a team in public health and health services research, with a special emphasis on interventions to improve quality of care in areas where patients’ values, ethical questions, and health care practice intersect, such as end-of-life care.

Dr. Solomon received her B.A. from Smith College and her doctorate from Harvard University.

Contact: Michael Turton, Communications Associate
845-424-4040 ext. 242

Read more: