MacLean Center $50,000 ethics prize awarded to University of Wisconsin emeritus professor

MacLean Center $50,000 ethics prize awarded to University of Wisconsin emeritus professor

October 24, 2016

The 2016 MacLean Center Prize in Clinical Ethics and Health Outcomes, a $50,000 award and the largest in clinical medical ethics, has been awarded to Norman Fost, MD, MPH, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics and Medical History and Bioethics at University of Wisconsin.

Fost will be presented the award at the MacLean Center's 28th Annual Dorothy J. MacLean Fellows Conference on Ethics in Medicine. The conference will be held on Friday, Nov. 11, and Saturday, Nov. 12, at the University of Chicago Law School, 1111 E. 60th St.

To learn more about the conference and to register visit

Fost, who joined the University of Wisconsin since 1973, was the founder and director of the Program in Bioethics for 40 years. He chaired the Hospital Ethics Committee and Health Sciences Institutional Review Board for more than 30 years. He was also vice chair and residency director in the school's Department of Pediatrics for 21 years.

"Dr. Norman Fost is a distinguished scholar, teacher, ethics program director, and clinical leader in the fields of Bioethics and Pediatrics," said Mark Siegler, MD, Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Surgery and director of the MacLean Center. "We are honored to recognize Dr. Norman Fost with this year's MacLean Center Prize."

Fost has been a thought leader in a wide range of medical ethics issues, including end-of-life decisions for children with disabilities, the use of performance-enhancing drugs, genetic screening and the definition of death.

"Winning the MacLean Center Prize is an incredible and unexpected honor," he said. "Under the leadership of Dr. Mark Siegler, the MacLean Center has had a profound impact on the field of bioethics through its research, education and training programs. I am proud to have my name associated with the Center and deeply grateful to Dr. Siegler and the MacLean family for this wonderful award."

Fost has been a consultant to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Pediatric Drug Advisory Committee and was past-chair of the FDA Pediatric Ethics Subcommittee. He has also worked with the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Guidelines for Stem Cell Research, and President Bill Clinton's Health Care Task Force.

Along with the MacLean Center Prize, he has been awarded:

  • The Nellie Westermann Prize for Research Ethics
  • The William G. Bartholome Award for Excellence in Ethics by the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • The Patricia Price Browne Prize in Bioethics, presented by the University of Oklahoma. (inaugural winner)

He also received a lifetime achievement award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for excellence in human research protection and has been inducted into the Society of Scholars at Johns Hopkins University. He was also a Trustee of Princeton University.

"I have generally been interested in challenging conventional wisdom and 'swimming against the tide,'" said Fost.

Previous winners of the MacLean Center Prize are:

  • Laura Roberts, MD, MA, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine and an internationally recognized scholar in bioethics, psychiatry, medicine and medical education.
  • Susan Tolle, MD, professor of medicine in the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine and director of the OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care. She is one of the founders of the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) movement in Oregon and nationally.
  • Peter Singer, MD, MPH, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, an international leader in the field of global health care ethics.
  • John Wennberg, MD, a Dartmouth professor who founded the national movement in evaluative clinical sciences. He is director emeritus of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice.

The MacLean Center, which pioneered the formal study of clinical medical ethics in the early 1980s, has the world's largest clinical medical ethics program for health care providers. The center's two-day conference, which is free and open to the public, is one of the center's marquee events.

This year's conference includes panel presentations by distinguished national ethics leaders addressing wide-reaching topics such as:

  • Health care disparities
  • Living donor organ transplantation
  • Medicine, economics and philosophy
  • Surgical ethics

About 500 people are expected to attend one or both days of the conference.

Of the 440 fellows who have trained at the MacLean Center since 1981, more than 300 are physicians and more than two dozen are currently directing or have directed clinical medical ethics programs in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia and China. Twenty-five fellows have held endowed chairs, and graduates from the program are on faculties at more than 60 universities in the U.S. and abroad.

Collectively, MacLean Center alumni have published 175 books. While most fellows are physicians, others come from different disciplines, including philosophy, theology, nursing, law and social sciences.

In addition to the annual conference, the MacLean Center is also holding its 35th annual interdisciplinary lecture series, which runs through May.

This year's lectures focus on reproductive ethics, featuring experts from medicine, law and other related fields.

Get more information on the 2016-2017 seminar series here.