News Release

Two faculty from the University of Pennsylvania, Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD, of the Perelman School of Medicine, and Jennifer Prah Ruger, PhD, of the School of Social Policy & Practice and the Perelman School of Medicine, have been named Hastings Center Fellows in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments in deepening public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, science, and technology.

Halpern and Prah Ruger are two of 14 new Fellows joining an elected group of over 200 that produce publications on ethical issues in health, science, and technology that inform policy, practice, and public understanding of bioethics. These individuals are chosen for their insight and experience in managing the ethical questions and societal effects that arise as a consequence of advances in the life sciences, the need to improve health and health care for people of all ages, and mitigation of human impact on the natural world.

Halpern is the John M. Eisenberg Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Medical Ethics and Health Policy in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, as well as a practicing critical care doctor. He is the founding Director of the Palliative and Advanced Illness Research (PAIR) Center, which generates evidence to advance policies and practices that improve the lives of all people affected by serious illness, and is Director of the NIA-funded Penn Roybal P30 Center on Palliative Care in Dementia. He is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians and serves on the Editorial Boards of the Annals of Internal Medicine and the American Journal of Bioethics.

Prah Ruger is the Amartya Sen Professor of Health Equity, Economics, and Policy in the School of Social Policy & Practice and professor of medical ethics and health policy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the founder and director of the Health Equity and Policy Lab, which conducts quantitative and qualitative research on the equity implications of health and public policies. She is a leading scholar of global and domestic health policy and public health who conducts theoretical and empirical studies of health equity to reduce global and national health inequities with a focus on the most disadvantaged populations worldwide, especially women and children. She is an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Guggenheim Fellow and serves on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Bioethics.

The Hastings Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization created from multiple disciplines, including philosophy, law, political science, and education. The Hastings Center was critical to establishing the field of bioethics in 1969 and has been evolving ever since. Founded by philosopher Daniel Callahan and psychoanalyst Willard Gaylin, The Hastings Center is the oldest independent, nonpartisan, interdisciplinary research institute of its kind in the world.

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 $8.6 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 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 $494 million awarded in the 2019 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 Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 43,900 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2019, Penn Medicine provided more than $583 million to benefit our community.

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