July 29, 2005

Susan Winston
(215) 662-2560


Penn Announces Unique Bioethics Internship
Takes Ethics into "The Real World;" Mutual Benefit Expected

(Philadelphia, PA) -- The Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine is inaugurating a unique internship with a world-leading science company.

The foundational four-week internship, which begins on August 1, will take place at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., a DuPont compamy, which is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Pioneer is the world's leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics to farmers worldwide.

The graduate-level internship is designed to be mutually beneficial to the company and those in the bioethics field. Pioneer anticipates that the internship will help heighten bioethical awareness and capacity within the organization. The Center for Bioethics expects an increase in understanding of the potential ethical dilemmas endemic to the agriculture industry, with particular attention to biotechnology-related challenges.

The recipient of the first internship is James Howard, a Masters student in bioethics and research ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Howard will work across the company to develop a framework for helping employees take ethics fully into account in the development and application of new plant technologies in emergent countries. As part of this process, he will conduct a comprehensive literature review and interview a cross section of Pioneers employees.

"This initiative is a natural progression of the company's core values and the work that we perform at the Center for Bioethics," said Arthur Caplan, PhD, Director of the Center for Bioethics and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics at Penn. "It will increase awareness and consideration of potential social implications of new techniques in food production and processing, especially as they relate to aiding the hungry in developing countries."

The internship is the product of collaboration between the DuPont Biotechnology External Advisory Panel and the Center for Bioethics. The Panel is an independent entity that helps the organization guide actions and decisions related to biotechnology. Dr. Caplan was a member for four year and helped develop its Bioethic Guiding Principles.

The Center for Bioethics at Penn's School of Medicine is a leader in bioethics research and its deployment in the ethical, efficient, and compassionate practice of the life sciences and medicine. The Center has become a world-renowned educational and research enterprise that employs over 20 full and part-time faculty with appointments in a number of schools and departments at Penn including medicine, law, nursing, business, education, philosophy, psychology, sociology, religious studies, public policy, and public health. It is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary.


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 includes: 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/jul05/bioethicsintern.htm