Dr. Mildred Z. Solomon was named President and CEO of The Hastings Center at the June 8, 2012 meeting of the Board of Directors in New York City, and was also elected to the Board. Dr. Solomon, who succeeds Dr. Thomas H. Murray, is the fifth president of the 43-year-old Hastings Center. A Hastings Center Fellow as well as Associate Clinical Professor of Medical Ethics in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Anesthesia at Children’s Hospital Boston, she is a social science researcher who studies normative and empirical ethical issues in medicine, health care, and the life sciences.
"The Hastings Center was the very first to recognize that remarkable advances in biomedical technology were generating questions our society had never before faced,” she said. “As I take the helm forty-plus years later, it’s now my job to follow this tradition and be sure we see, name, grapple with, and act on the huge 21st century challenges of today. Questions such as how, in an age of growing and dramatic income disparity, can bioethics contribute to issues of justice, particularly in a time of political polarization? How can bioethicists influence the rapidly changing ways in which health care is going to be financed in this country? What are the implications of advances in neuroscience and cognitive science for our understanding of human motivations, behaviors and moral decision making? And how do we tackle the relationship between humans and the natural world? The explorations the Center will launch will continue to take us to new places, as well as to familiar places where the field must do more. I look forward to working with our extraordinary staff and Fellows, as we travel this uncharted terrain.”
Dr. Murray, who steps down after a 13-year tenure as President, was feted the evening before the Board meeting at a party including his family, Board members, Dr. Solomon, staff, Hastings Center Fellows, and friends. At the event, Dr. Murray was presented with the prestigious Henry Knowles Beecher Award, which recognizes individuals who have made a lifetime contribution to ethics and the life sciences and whose careers have been devoted to excellence in scholarship, research, and ethical inquiry. The award is named after the first recipient, the late Henry Knowles Beecher, MD, a pioneer in bioethics who, in the 1960s, shed light on ethically questionable practices in human subjects research.
“Being President of The Hastings Center has been a privilege and an adventure,” said Dr. Murray. “I’ve been blessed to partner with extraordinarily talented and dedicated colleagues, and with wise, generous and hard-working Board members. I believe we’ve remained true to the values and mission of Hastings pioneered by its founders, Dan Callahan and Will Gaylin, as we continue to add new capacities and new audiences.”
Dr. Murray, who is also a Hastings Center Fellow, will continue his affiliation with Hastings as President Emeritus and Senior Research Scholar.