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Leon R. Kass Named 2016 Beecher Award Recipient

Leon R. Kass has been named the recipient of The Hastings Center’s 2016 Henry Knowles Beecher Award.

For more than four decades, Dr. Kass has been deeply engaged with ethical and philosophical issues raised by biomedical advances. He was a Founding Fellow of The Hastings Center. He was chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005. Under his leadership, the council produced reports on a broad range of ethical issues posed by advances in biotechnology and biomedical science, including determination of death, human cloning, stem cell research, end-of-life care, and the uses of biotechnology for human enhancement.

Dr. Kass received BS and MD degrees from the University of Chicago and a PhD in biochemistry from Harvard University. He is the Addie Clark Harding Professor Emeritus in the Committee on Social Thought and the College at the University of Chicago and the Madden-Jewett Chair at the American Enterprise Institute. Upon naming him the 2009 Jefferson Lecturer, the highest honor the federal government confers for intellectual achievement in the humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities stated that “we honor a philosopher who has sought to understand and defend human dignity while remaining a man of science.”  He is the author of four books, Toward a More Natural Science (1985), The Hungry Soul (1994), The Beginning of Wisdom 2003), a meditation on the Book of Genesis; and What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, speech, and Song (2011).

The Hastings Center’s Henry Knowles Beecher Award recognizes individuals who have made a lifetime contribution to ethics and the life sciences and whose careers have been devoted to excellence in scholarship, research, and ethical inquiry. The award was named for the first recipient, a distinguished surgeon and anesthesiologist who, in the 1960’s, courageously exposed unethical practices in human subjects research in the United States. His investigations led to the development of federal research ethics standards and helped establish the field of bioethics.