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Weill Cornell Medical College's Joseph Fins Gets Biomedical Ethics Prize

Weill Cornell Medical College's Joseph Fins Wins Biomedical Ethics Prize

A noted scholar and author in the field of medical and palliative care ethics has been selected to receive the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics.

OKLAHOMA CITY – A noted scholar and author in the field of medical and palliative care ethics has been selected to receive the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics, administered by the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. This year’s recipient is Joseph J. Fins, M.D., M.A.C.P., chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.

The $10,000 prize, awarded every two years, was established to honor Oklahoma City community leader Patricia Price Browne by selecting an individual who “demonstrates the highest standards in the medical or professional ethics fields.”

“The College of Medicine is proud to continue the legacy of Patricia Price Browne by awarding this prize to such a distinguished and accomplished individual as Dr. Joseph Fins,” said M. Dewayne Andrews, senior vice president and provost for the OU Health Sciences Center and executive dean of the OU College of Medicine.

At Weill Cornell Medical College, Fins also serves as the E. William Davis Jr., M.D. Professor of Medical Ethics and is a professor of medicine, of medicine in psychiatry and of healthcare policy and research.

Additionally, he is an attending physician and director of medical ethics at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he is the founding chair of the hospital’s ethics committee. Fins also serves on the adjunct faculty of The Rockefeller University, where he is a senior attending physician at The Rockefeller University Hospital and co-directs the Consortium for the Advanced Study of Brain Injury at Weill Cornell and Rockefeller University.

Fins’ 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.

A prolific author, his book credits including A Palliative Ethic of Care: Clinical Wisdom at Life’s End (2006); a forthcoming book, titled Rights Come to Mind: Brain Injury, Ethics and the Struggle for Consciousness, will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. He is a co-author of the landmark 2007 Nature paper describing the first use of deep-brain stimulation in the minimally conscious state.

Fins is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, he was elected an Academico de Honor of the National Royal Academy of Medicine in Spain, one of only 18 so honored worldwide. Other awards and honors he has received include a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, a Soros Open Society Institute Project on Death in America Faculty Scholars Award and a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation Visiting Fellowship. He has received additional grant support from the Dana, Buster and Katz foundations, among others.

Fins was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and he currently serves on the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law by gubernatorial appointment. He also serves on the New York State Palliative Care and Education Council by appointment of the health commissioner.

Fins earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the College of Letters at Wesleyan University and his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College. He completed his internal medicine residency and general internal medicine fellowship at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Active in numerous professional and honorary medical, bioethics and societies, Fins is immediate past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, former chair of the Hastings Center Fellows Council and now a member of the center’s Board of Trustees. A trustee emeritus of Wesleyan University, he has been honored with its Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Fins is a master of the American College of Physician and served as a governor of the college, which honored him with its Laureate Award. A fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and was appointed to Germany’s Council of the Europaische Akademie, he also is an elected member of the American Clinical and Climatological Association and Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society.

Fins will receive the Browne Prize on May 13, 2015, during a visit to the OU Health Sciences Center campus. While at OU, he will be a guest lecturer for Pediatric Grand Rounds at Children’s Hospital.

Photo by Amy Ehrlich.