University of Chicago Formally Welcomes Professor Sulmasy

HNP Communications Friar News

CHICAGO — Daniel Sulmasy, OFM, was officially welcomed to his new post at the University of Chicago earlier this month, celebrating his appointment as the inaugural Kilbride-Clinton Professor of Medicine and Ethics in the Department of Medicine and Divinity School.

A reception was held Nov. 12 at the university’s Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine for Dan, who also serves as associate director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. He has been working at the university since July. 

“In bridging theology and medicine, this newly-created endowed chair links two of the three traditional medieval professions, invoking the spirit of the university that prevailed in the days when friars such as Bonaventure, Scotus, Ockham and Bacon first taught at the universities of Paris and Oxford,” Daniel said. 

He is also launching the university’s combined degree program in ethics, offering medical students both a medical degree and a doctorate in ethics, along with a one- to two-year fellowship in ethics after medical training. Daniel is known for his reputation for tackling tough ethical issues, always reminding his students that good ethics depends on good science.

“Our programs will be for doctors who have an abiding interest in ethics, or for medical students who were philosophy or theology majors,” he said. “Through experience and training, people often become interested in the myriad of questions that face doctors, such as when to discontinue a ventilator and what to do about embryonic stem cell research.”

Daniel, a medical doctor who also holds a doctorate in philosophy, is often consulted as an expert in controversial biomedical ethical decisions, such as end-of-life care and stem cell research.

While in New York, he lived at Holy Name Province’s friary at All Saints Church on E. 129th Street in Harlem. His work in New York included a professorship of medicine and director of the Bioethics Institute at New York Medical in Valhalla, N.Y., and the Sisters of Charity Chair in Ethics at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. Previously, he was director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics as senior research scholar of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, and was an associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University. 

“A friar is who I am. What I do is medicine and ethics,” said Dan in a recently-published article in a University of Chicago publication.

The Queens, N.Y., native is the author of four books, The Healer’s Calling, Methods in Medical Ethics, The Rebirth of the Clinic, and A Balm for Gilead: Meditations on Spirituality and the Healing Arts. 

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, was among the roughly 60 attendees of the Nov. 12 celebratory reception that featured Everett Vokes, interim chief executive officer of the University of Chicago Medical Center and interim dean of the Division of the Biological Sicienes at the Pritzker School of Medicine. Other speakers at the reception included Mark Siegler, director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, and Bruce Clinton.