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Ethicist James F. Childress Receives Thomas Jefferson Award

October 25, 2002-- James F. Childress, a national expert on medical ethics who served on President Clinton’s commission studying cloning, received the University of Virginia’s highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award, at Fall Convocation ceremonies today.

Childress, professor of ethics and medical education, was the 47th recipient of the award that honors a member of the University community who exemplifies in character, work and influences the ideals of the University’s founder.

Director of the Institute for Practical Ethics, Childress became interested in ethics 32 years ago while participating in a program about donor organs at U.Va. Law School.

“Today we are pleased to honor James Franklin Childress, internationally known as one of the co-founders and driving forces of the field of biomedical ethics,” the award citation noted.

He is “an outstanding scholar, a beloved teacher and a supportive mentor to students, staff and faculty throughout the University and to alumni around the world.”

One of 15 experts on biomedical ethics named to a national advisory by former President Clinton in 1996. Childress helped explore ethical issues raised by experiments in human biology and behavior.

Childress, 62, has written extensively on aspects of ethics, particularly euthanasia and access to health care. Additionally, he has written numerous articles and several books in biomedical ethics, including “Principles of Biomedical Ethics” (with Tom L. Beauchamp), “Priorities in Biomedical Ethics” and “Moral Reasoning in Conflicts.”

He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984-85, the same year the U.Va. Alumni Association recognized him with its distinguished professor award.

Childress joined the faculty in 1968, left briefly in1975 and returned in 1979. He was chair of the Department of Religious Studies from 1972 to 1975 and 1986 to1994, principal of
Monroe Hill College from 1988 to 1991 and was co-director of the Virginia Health Policy Center from 1991 to1999. In 1990, he was named Professor of the Year in Virginia by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Childress has been vice chair of the national Task Force on Organ Transplantation, and he has also served on the Board of Directors of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the UNOS Ethics Committee, the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, the Human Gene Therapy Subcommittee, the Biomedical Ethics Advisory Committee and several data and safety monitoring boards for National Institutes of Health clinical trials.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and, in 1998, was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He is also a fellow of the Hastings Center.

Childress received his B.A. from Guilford College, his B.D. from Yale Divinity School and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Contact: Katherine Thompson Jackson, (434) 924-3629

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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