The past academic year has brought tremendous and unforeseen changes to our Center. While some of these changes have been sad, most have been positive and as a whole they leave us positioned to grow and accomplish exciting things.
During the Fall semester, we learned that Ana Iltis would depart our Center to become the Co-Director of the Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society at Wake Forest University in July 2010. I want to take this opportunity to thank Ana for seven years of excellent service. Ana has served our department as one of those rare faculty members who demonstrates excellence in teaching, mentoring, scholarship, administration, and collegiality. We wish her all the best in her new leadership role.
We also look forward to ongoing collaborations with Ana. This month, the Johns Hopkins University Press has agreed to publish a new journal, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: A Journal of Qualitative Research. Ana and I will serve as the editors. More news on this endeavor will be forthcoming in the fall issue of this newsletter.
In the Fall we also learned that Saint Louis University (SLU) is decentralizing the administration of graduate programs and closing its Graduate School. We want to thank Dean Donald Brennan for his support of our PhD and Certificate programs over the past 13 years.
In January 2010, our Center began reporting as an independent academic unit to Dr. Philip Alderson, Vice President for Health Sciences. We thank Dr. Alderson for enabling many of the positive changes that I am about to report.
In the wake of Ana’s departure, new partnerships, and some restructuring, we received approval to conduct two searches for new faculty. First, through partnerships with the CTSA at Washington University and the Vice President of Research at SLU, we established a tenure track assistant professor position focused in the area of research ethics. We expect to announce the new hire within the next week.
Second, we received authorization to combine our vacant Tenet Endowed Chair with the newly vacated Graduate Program Director position and began a search that had a surprising conclusion. We have hired Jeffrey Bishop, MD, PhD, to serve as our new Center Director and Tenet Endowed Chair. An article in this issue of our newsletter describes Jeff’s background and credentials. During the interview process, I recognized Jeff’s potential to provide leadership to our Center. Prior to the interview, I recognized how overextended I had become over the past five years and proposed that we explore the possibility of his assuming the Directorship. The rest is future history.
I will remain the Director of the Bander Center for Medical Business Ethics and of the Center for Research Ethics and Integrity within the Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (an NIH CTSA program). Additionally, this summer I will establish a Social Science Research Group (SSRG) within our Center, which will enjoy the support of Pam Amsler as our new Grants Development Specialist. Over the past year, Pam has heroically served as our Center’s sole support staff. We have begun a search to replace her functions as the Center’s Administrative Assistant. (Over the next year, we will provide further details on the SSRG—its vision, personnel, and projects.)
Our Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics and the Bander Center will also enjoy the support of a new Coordinator, Cyndi McKenna. Cyndi served as Assistant Art Director at Washington University and as Owner and Art Director of McKenna Design. She completed a degree in Commercial Graphics Design at SIU, and has overseen large local and national events. She will support our websites, newsletters, and events, including our conferences and onsite Certificate program events.
At the end of this month, our Center is relocating to the Salus Center, where we will occupy significantly more space than our charming O’Brien Hall affords. In recent years, we have doubled the number of research assistants in our Center, and we recently tripled the number of support staff. Our current building could not accommodate this growth, which shows no sign of slowing. We are pleased to have the School of Public Health and the SLU Center for Outcomes Research (SLUCOR) as our new neighbors.
As icing on the cake, our Center has graduated five new PhDs: Drs. Anji Wall, Jerome Schmelzer, Nathaniel Brown, Christine Gorka, and Heather Beardon. We wish you all the best as you build your careers in health care ethics.
It has been an honor and a privilege serving as Center Director / Department Chair over the past 5 years. With the support of great colleagues, I feel that we have significantly increased the quality of our educational and research programs, and have increased our visibility through our newsletters, conferences, and graduates. I am proud of all that we have accomplished, even as I am excited and curious to see where we will be five years from now with new faculty, leadership, students, and ideas.
- Jim DuBois