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January 21, 2015

New center to advance bioethical education, training

Paul Schyve ’66, ’70M (MD), ’74M (Res) has committed $5 million to the University to support the study and practice of bioethics in health care and research.

“Breakthroughs in areas such as stem cell research, assisted reproduction, genomics, and neurocognitive science are rapidly changing the way we are born, live, and die. Patients, families, providers, and policymakers are facing difficult and confusing decisions, fraught with moral and ethical implications,” says Stephanie Brown Clark, director of the Division of Medical Humanities and Bioethics. “This gift will help us further develop informed and thoughtful approaches to these kinds of concerns.”

The University will establish the Paul M. Schyve, M.D. Center for Bioethics to advance bioethical training and education throughout the region; help professionals, patients, and families make bioethical decisions; and enhance community understanding of bioethical issues. Housed at the Medical Center, the center will unite programs across the entire University through the creation of a bioethics counsel.

“As an academic medical center located on a university campus, we are uniquely positioned to become the leading resource for bioethics scholarship in upstate New York. Dr. Schyve’s generous gift will help make that a reality,” says Mark Taubman, Medical Center CEO, dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, and University vice president for health sciences.

“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. “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.”

Schyve, a Rochester native, became increasingly interested in the ethics of health care three decades ago when developing accreditation standards related to clinical research and organizational ethics at the Joint Commission. He is senior advisor for health care improvement at the Joint Commission. He joined the commission as director of standards in 1986, subsequently serving as vice president for research and standards (1989– 93) and senior vice president (1993–2011) before assuming his current role.

Holding the title of Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he is a founding advisor of Consumers Advancing Patient Safety, chair of the Ethical Force Oversight Body of the Institute of Ethics at the American Medical Association, a former trustee of the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, and a former board member of the National Alliance for Health Information Technology.

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