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History

Dr. Paul M. Schyve, a Rochester native, credits his education at the University of Rochester as playing an important formative role in his professional career. He ascribes his interest in bioethics as being sparked by the teachings of John Romano, MD, founding chair of the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Romano and Dr. George Engle were collaborators and pioneers of mind-body medicine. Dr. Engel’s 1977 landmark article in Science on The Need for a New Medical Model: a Challenge for Biomedicine was part of larger education reforms across the country and greatly influenced medical education at the University of Rochester.

Dr. Robert Joynt, a neurologist, who was then Dean of the Medical School, and Dr. Jules Cohen, an internist, who was Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education created the Division of Medical Humanities in 1984 as a natural outgrowth of the school’s signature biopsychosocial model. Kathryn Montgomery, a PhD in English Literature, was the Division’s first Director. Jane Greenlaw, a JD with interest in healthcare law and trained as an RN, was hired shortly thereafter to teach courses in healthcare law, and ethics. Since 1980, the Division’s education programs in the medical school expanded to include required courses, electives and enrichment Pathways in literature, history, visual arts, cultural, gender and disability studies. Concurrently, the courses in what is now called "bioethics" in undergraduate and residency teaching developed into a robust Program in Bioethics. A clinical component was established as an Ethics Consult Service for the hospital.

Over his distinguished career Dr. Schyve made substantial contributions to ethics of health care, beginning in 1986, when he joined The Joint Commission and developed accreditation standards related to clinical, research, and organizational ethics. He ultimately became senior advisor for Healthcare Improvement at The Joint Commission before his retirement in 2016.

A steadfast supporter of the University of Rochester Medical Center, Dr. Schyve made a visionary gift in 2014 to endow the new Center for Bioethics at the university, providing enduring support to the study and practice of bioethics in clinical care, the health delivery system, and life sciences research. "The University of Rochester, with its biopsychosocial tradition, is the perfect setting to deliberate bioethical issues and develop a framework for ethical decision making in clinical care, the health delivery system, and life sciences research. Ultimately, this will improve patient care and promote human dignity," says Schyve, who completed his undergraduate degree (1966), medical education (1970) and residency in Psychiatry (1974) at the University of Rochester. "My education at the University  played an important formative role in my professional  career; I am pleased to find such a deeply meaningful way to give back."

His thoughtful commitment builds upon a lifetime dedicated to improving patient care and promoting human dignity, creating a legacy at the university that will touch countless lives across generations of patients.