Illustrative image for The Bioethics Founders 8217 Award

The Bioethics Founders’ Award

The Bioethics Founders’ Award is presented annually to individuals from any country who have made substantial, sustained contributions to bioethics that have advanced thinking and practice in medicine, the life sciences, and public policy.

The name of the award honors the scholars from a wide range of disciplines who, beginning in 1969, accepted the Center’s invitation to join in exploring the deep moral concerns and practical issues raised by developments in the life sciences, medical practice, and research. These efforts helped create the new field of inquiry known as bioethics. Awardees are selected by a standing committee of Hastings Center fellows (with a preference given to previous recipients of the award) appointed by the president of The Hastings Center.

The award was previously named for Henry Knowles Beecher, the Harvard professor of anesthesiology who in 1976 was its first recipient. A decade earlier, Dr. Beecher helped launch the field when he published an article in a leading medical journal setting forth examples of clinical research that he labeled “unethical” because the studies, which involved substantial risk and sometimes resulted in harm, included subjects who had not been adequately informed. As commentators have recently noted, Beecher never fully acknowledged how some of his own early research had fallen short of the ethical standard he came to advocate. The award now recognizes all the founders of bioethics whose pioneering work, like Beecher’s writings, gave birth to the field.

Recipients of the Award

Anita L. Allen, JD, PhD, 2022

Farhat Moazam, MD, PhD, 2022

Patricia A. King, JD, 2021

Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH, 2019

Dan W. Brock, PhD, 2018

Albert Jonsen, PhD, 2017

Edward Frank Shotter, 2017

Leon R. Kass, MD, PhD, 2016

Renee C. Fox, PhD, 2015

Ruth Macklin, PhD, 2014

Robert M. Veatch, PhD, 2013

Thomas H. Murray, PhD, 2012

Solomon R. Benatar, MBChB, DSc (Med), 2011

Renzong Qiu, 2011

Tom L. Beauchamp, PhD, 2010

James F. Childress, PhD, 2010

Alexander M. Capron, LLB, 2009

Joanne Lynn, MD, MS, MA,  2006

Edmund D. Pellegrino, MD, MACP, 2003

Alastair V. Campbell, MA, BD, ThD, 1999

Raanan Gillon, MB, BS, FRCP, 1999

Danner Clouser, PhD, 1996

Sissela Bok, PhD, 1996

Jay Katz, MD, 1993

Daniel Callahan, PhD, 1989

Willard Gaylin, MD, 1989

Richard A. McCormick, SJ, 1988

Robert S. Morison, MD, 1984

Paul Ramsey, PhD, 1981

Joseph Fletcher, STD, 1981

Hans Jonas, PhD, 1978

Henry Knowles Beecher, MD, 1976