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Chair's Introduction

Lainie Friedman Ross, M.D., Ph.D., Named Inaugural Chair of the New Department of Health Humanities and Bioethics

Lainie Friedman RossLainie Friedman Ross, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatrician and internationally renowned bioethicist at The University of Chicago, was tapped as the inaugural chair of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry’s new Department of Health Humanities and Bioethics and director of the Paul M. Schyve, MD Center for Bioethics, pending approval by the Office of the Provost. Ross will begin her role January 9, 2023.

“This new department will embody the core principles of the biopsychosocial model, focusing attention on the moral aspects of research and patient care programs,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., CEO of the Medical Center and Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “As a distinguished expert in clinical medical ethics, Dr. Ross will help us further strengthen a well-respected program and build a vibrant department to address today’s ever-expanding ethical and societal questions related to health care.”

URMC was among the first in the country with a humanities division, and now, just one of eight academic medical centers in the nation to have a dedicated humanities and bioethics department.

“My vision is to create a department of Health Humanities and Bioethics that is nationally recognized for active engagement and contributions to the advancement of ethical, just, and humanistic health care, and for education and training in health humanities and bioethics,” Ross said.

With nearly three decades influencing discussion and policy around pediatric care and organ transplantation, as well as other emerging topics, Ross added “I am excited to join an institution where the biopsychosocial model was developed and is rooted in every aspect of care, education, and research. I look forward to working with the many wonderful colleagues I have met who understand and value the fundamental role that ethics, the arts and the humanities play in promoting health.”

Ross currently serves as the University of Chicago’s Carolyn and Matthew Bucksbaum professor of Clinical Medical Ethics, as well as professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Medicine, Surgery and The College. She is co-director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and associate director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

Ethical and policy issues in pediatrics, organ transplantation, genetics/genomics, clinical research ethics and human subject protections are the focuses of Ross’ expertise. She has published five books, over 225 peer-reviewed journal articles, and is currently writing a sixth book examining ethical issues related to siblings in health care that is funded by the National Library of Medicine.

A frequent lecturer both nationally and internationally, Ross has been awarded prestigious honors and academic appointments including the Kellogg National Leadership Fellow Class of XVI (1997-2000), a 2009 Hastings Fellow, the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics in 2009, and a 2014 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow. In 2015, she was recipient of the American Academy of Pediatrics William G. Bartholome Award for Ethical Excellence.

Ross has been an active member on numerous committees and boards of national organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Bioethics and the Executive Committee of the Section on Bioethics; the Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Human Research Protections; the United Network for Organ Sharing Ethics Committee; the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities Board of Directors; the Illinois Department of Public Health, Genetic and Metabolic Diseases Advisory Committee; and the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics Social, Ethical and Legal Implications Committee.

She serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Pediatrics, the Journal of Clinical Ethics, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine and the Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics.

Ross started her career at Chicago in 1994 as an assistant professor of Pediatrics, and assistant director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. A year later she became director of the ethics consultation services. She was granted secondary appointments in the Department of Medicine in 1994, in the Department of History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine in 1997, and the Department of Surgery in 2007. She was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2001 and full professor in 2006.

Lainie Ross, Jane Greenlaw, Stephanie Brown Clark, Kathryn Montgomery

From left to right: Lainie Ross, Stephanie Brown Clark, Jane Greenlaw, Kathryn Montgomery

She earned her undergraduate degree in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University in 1982 and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in 1986. She trained in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital at Columbia University, and earned a doctorate in philosophy from Yale University in 1996.

Joining URMC brings Ross back to the Empire State and closer to family in her hometown of Jericho on Long Island. A diehard fan of the New York Yankees, she enjoys the theater, travel, reading, and time with her husband, John, and their two grown daughters.