(Philadelphia, PA) -- Arthur Rubenstein, MBBCh, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine, has announced the creation of a Department of Medical Ethics, which will provide the academic home for the world-renowned Center for Bioethics. Arthur Caplan, PhD, the Emanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics, will serve as the newly-created department's first Chairman.

The Department of Medical Ethics -- the first to be dedicated to medical ethics at an academic medical center -- was created to provide an academic home base for Penn faculty conducting research on ethical issues in medicine and the life sciences. The new department -- with fourteen full- and part-time faculty members -- is one of the largest programs of its kind in the world. It will build on and complement the work of the many Center faculty who are drawn from a variety of academic and clinical disciplines. The Department of Medical Ethics positions Penn Bioethics as the undisputed leader in bioethics research and its use in the practice of medicine and life sciences.

Since its establishment in 1994 as an interdisciplinary unit of Penn's School of Medicine, the Center for Bioethics has grown -- under Caplan's leadership -- into a world-renowned educational force, advancing scholarly and public understanding of ethical, legal, social, and public policy issues in medicine and the life sciences.

"The Center is Penn's voice of bioethics to the world," explains Caplan. "It is also the way the School of Medicine is able to interact on an educational front with other schools, programs and university units -- outside the world of medicine -- who are interested in bioethics, as well as with the community and the general public. The focus of the Center has not changed. However, with the increasing number of Bioethics faculty teaching in Penn's School of Medicine, the rapid growth of the Masters of Bioethics Program, the undertaking of an undergraduate program and the future prospect of a PhD program in Bioethics, it became critical to have a department home for bioethics at the School of Medicine."

Caplan's goals for the new department are ambitious: " ... to use the department to better integrate bioethics into the Health System and the School of Medicine, to improve our teaching of residents ... to continue to expand our undergraduate teaching and opportunities for internships and to attract philanthropic support in response to the University's commitment to this new department."


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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.