I earned a B.A. cum laude in Philosophy and English at Duquesne University in 1969, a M.A. in Philosophy in 1971 and a Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1976 at the University of Texas at Austin. From 1975-76, I was a National Endowment for the Humanities Research and Teaching Fellow in the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

 Academic History

  • I started my academic career at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIUSM) in 1976 where I was the founding Director of Medical Ethics Program and became a full Professor of Medical Ethics, Psychiatry, and Philosophy.
  • From 1997 to 2005, I was Professor of Bioethics in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University; Professor of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, Ohio State University; and F. J. O’Neill Chair in Clinical Bioethics, and Chairman of the Department of Bioethics with a joint appointment in the Transplant Center at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.
  • During the 2003-2004 Winter Term, I was the Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft Visiting Professor and in June 2004 the Ann Frank Foundation Lecturer at the University of Basel, Switzerland.
  • From 2005-until I retired in 2011, I was Professor of Philosophy and Senior Research Fellow in the Social Philosophy & Policy Center, and from 2005-2010 the Founding Director of the University Values Program at Bowling Green State University.
  • Since my retirement, I have held visiting professorships at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore (2013 and 2017), the University of Padova (2014and at Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands (2014), and National Taiwan University College of Medicine (2011).

 Clinical/Organizational Ethics & Ethics Consultation

Since the late 1970s I have worked in clinical ethics and ethics consultation and founded a Clinical Ethics Center at Memorial Medical Center, a teaching hospital of SIUSM. At the Cleveland Clinic, I became extensively involved in critical care ethics, established the Critical Care Ethics Liaison Service, and restructured the Ethics Consultation Service. I was also responsible for coordinating the eleven Hospital Ethics Committees of the Cleveland Clinic Health System; I also served on the Liver Transplantation Selection Committee as well as the Advanced Heart Failure Therapeutics/Heart Transplantation Selection Committee and provided consultation services for the development of innovative surgical interventions, including the first face transplant performed in the United States.

 Research and Publications

I have published on a wide range of topics including autonomy and dependence in old age, bioethics expert testimony, brain death, clinical ethics and ethics consultation, ethics of innovative treatments, ethics in long-term care, organ donation and transplantation, philosophical aspects of psychiatric nosology, the ethics of quality improvement, research ethics, and nanoethics. I have also given lectures on many of these—and other—topics. A full list of this work is in my curriculum vitae. I am particularly interested in conceptual issues in bioethics, clinical ethics, and the philosophy of medicine 

 International Bioethics

For many years, I was active in international bioethics and served on the International Association of Bioethics (IAB) Board of Directors, Chaired the International Scientific Committee for the 9th World Congress of Bioethics (Rijeka 2008); founded and directed the IAB Bioethics Education Network and the Network on Clinical Ethics, and the am the Founding Co-Director of the series of International Conferences on Clinical Ethics and Consultation (ICCEC): Cleveland, (2003), Basel (2005), Toronto (2007), Rijeka (2008), Taipei (2009), Portland  (2010), Amsterdam (2011), Sao Paulo (2012), Munich (2013), Paris (2014),  New York (2015), Washington (2016), Singapore (2017), Oxford (2018), and Vienna (2019).