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Medical Ethicist Receives Medal for Scientific Achievements

September 24, 2009 – The Medical Center honored Dr. Edmund Pellegrino for his outstanding scientific, medical and educational achievements embodying the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis – caring for the whole person – during its Sept. 22 convocation. 

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia and Dr. Howard Federoff, executive vice president for health sciences at Georgetown and executive dean of the School of Medicine, presented the medical scholar with the Cura Personalis Medal during the afternoon ceremony. Pellegrino was honored alongside more than 20 Medical Center faculty members and students who received convocation awards.

Pellegrino, the John Carroll Professor Emeritus of Medicine and a senior research scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, has held many roles while at Georgetown. His service includes leadership roles at the Center for Clinical Bioethics, Kennedy Institute of Ethics and the Advanced Study of Ethics.

Medicine’s Moral Obligations

A prolific author, Pellegrino, 89, has written more than 24 books and 550 published works in medical science, philosophy and ethics, and he is the founding editor of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy

At 89, Pellegrino returns to Georgetown after completing a four-year term as chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics. 

“Despite being labeled a bioethicist, I really am not one,” Pellegrino said. “I am a physician who likes to reflect on the moral obligations of being a physician, and I continue to identify myself that way.” 

Best known for his discussions on Christian virtue and medical ethics in the treatment of patients, humanism and the physician; and the philosophical basis of medical treatment, Pellegrino focused his remarks on the role of ethics in the health care debate and in particular on the role of physicians. 

“It involves all of us as patients, as potential patients. It also involves all of us here in the Medical Center who are teachers,” Pellegrino said. “Basic scientists contribute to the formation of the physician as do we clinicians. The idea that we are celebrating today, the idea of cura personalis, is the idea of the care of the person.”



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