(Garrison, NY) Joseph J. Fins, M.D., chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and a Hastings Center board member, was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies on October 11. Membership in the Institute of Medicine is among the highest honors given to researchers in medicine and health.
“I am really humbled by this honor and would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge my debt to The Hastings Center, which first nurtured my work in bioethics two decades ago and which continues to be a font of inspiration and collegiality,” says Dr. Fins, who is also a Hastings Center Fellow and former Hastings medical research associate.
Dr. Fins is the author of over 200 publications in medical ethics and health policy. He is coauthor of a paper in Nature in 2007 that described the first use of deep brain stimulation in a patient in the minimally conscious state. The paper suggested that the treatment may promote functional recovery from traumatic brain injury years after it occurred. He elaborated on this prospect in a chapter on brain injury in The Hastings Center Bioethics Briefing Book.
His most recent book is A Palliative Ethic of Care: Clinical Wisdom at Life’s End (Jones and Bartlett, 2006). His current scholarly interests include ethical and policy issues in brain injury and disorders of consciousness, palliative care, research ethics in neurology and psychiatry, medical education and methods of ethics case consultation.
“Election to the Institute of Medicine is a terrific honor,” says Thomas H. Murray, president of The Hastings Center. “I’m delighted that he has had his excellent work acknowledged by his peers.”
A recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, Dr. Fins has also received a Soros Open Society Institute Project on Death in America Faculty Scholars Award, a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation Visiting Fellowship and support from the Dana and Buster Foundations. He was appointed by President Clinton to The White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and currently serves on The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law by gubernatorial appointment. He has also been a member of New York’s Attorney General’s Commission on Quality Care at the End of Life and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and The New York Academy of Medicine.