January 13, 2006

Kate Olderman
(215) 349-8369


Program on the Holocaust and the Ethics of Human Subjects Research
Established at Penn Center for Bioethics
Multi-Year Contribution Provided by the Sylvia and Solomon Bronstein Foundation

(Philadelphia, PA) - The University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics is pleased to announce the establishment of the Bronstein Program on the Holocaust and the Ethics of Human Subjects Research, supported by a multi-year $100,000 contribution from the Sylvia and Solomon Bronstein Foundation.

"We are most thankful to the Sylvia and Solomon Bronstein Foundation for the very generous gift -- which will permit us to build on Penn's expertise, promote innovation, and extend the Center's efforts in its core program area of human-subjects research, with a focus on the Holocaust and its legacy for understanding the ethics of clinical research," said Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, Director of Penn's Center for Bioethics and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics.

The history of the holocaust provides a vast context in which to explore, debate, and shape public policy governing the ethical conduct and protection of human subjects. Since its inception in 1994, the Center for Bioethics has been investigating the emerging social, ethical and legal dimensions of human subjects research.

This significant contribution from the Sylvia and Solomon Bronstein Foundation gives the Center the means to more effectively and synergistically develop a common infrastructure and support base under which to consolidate the many ongoing and potential projects in human subjects research at Penn. It will enable the Center to leverage its own 10-year record of achievements in this area, promote innovation, as well as attract sustained programmatic funding and faculty interest.

The principal goals of the Bronstein Program on the Holocaust and the Ethics of Human Subjects Research will be to identify the major ethical issues in the history of human subjects research; increase scholarly and public knowledge about the history of the Holocaust and its legacy on human subjects research protections; utilize history to ground the analysis of contemporary bioethical issues; use the history of the Holocaust to encourage debate and shape future public responses and policies vis-à-vis human subjects research; and foster interdisciplinary scholarly collaborations in research ethics.

As the centerpiece of the Bronstein Program, the Annual Bronstein Lecture will bring renowned national and international scholars to the Center speak on the subject.

Additional outcomes will include: exploration of ethical issues in biomedical research and medicine raised by the Holocaust; policy recommendations; major papers, book-length studies and anthologies; publications in major scientific and popular journals; community talks and presentations; commentary in the print and broadcast media; subunits for high school bioethics curricula; a dedicated website; a cadre of scholars with competency in the subject matter; and a new generation of medical students and bioethics graduate and undergraduate students with a sound understanding of what happened in the name of research during the Nazi era.

The mission of the Center for Bioethics is to advance scholarly and public understanding of the ethical, legal, social and public policy implications of biomedical research and medicine. The Center operates as an interdisciplinary unit of Penn’s School of Medicine, with input from a Faculty Advisory Board of academic leaders and an External Advisory Board of corporate and civic leaders. Its renowned faculty-with core members based in the Department of Medical Ethics-come from a variety of academic and clinical disciplines including medicine, nursing, law, philosophy, psychology, sociology, religious studies and public policy. Under the leadership of Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, the Center has made great strides since its inception in 1994-becoming a highly sought after resource for policy makers, industry leaders, and the lay public wrestling with complex and difficult bioethics issues.

The Center will mark its 10th Anniversary and celebrate its achievements with a major public event including a symposium on the legacy of the Terri Schiavo case on April 30 and May 1, 2006.


PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System comprises: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

This release is available online at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/jan06/Bronsteinprgm.htm