The blog of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

Dennis Thompson, Ph.D. to address Commission

As the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues gathers in Miami to continue its discussion of the development of an ethical framework around the issue of pediatric medical countermeasures, Commission members will hear from additional experts in relevant fields.

This afternoon Dennis F. Thompson, Ph.D., the Alfred North Whitehead Professor of Political Philosophy at Harvard University, and the founding director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, will address the Commission. At issue: the philosophical grounding for the ethical approach that the Commission is considering for the complex issue of pediatric medical countermeasure research.

The Commission is not the first to ask Thompson to advise on a challenging topic.  He has served as a consultant to the Institute of Medicine on the topic of Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice, and as advisor to the American Medical Association, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee, as well as the Joint Ethics Committee of the South African Parliament.

Thompson’s work focuses on political philosophy, ethics in government and healthcare, and democratic theory. He received a first class honors degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford and a doctorate in political science from Harvard University, where he has been teaching since 1986.

The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics serves as a university-wide academic center for the study of theoretical and practical ethics across a variety of disciplines. The Center hosts faculty fellows, graduate fellows, and a wide variety public events programming. Thompson led the center for two decades.

Dr. Thompson will be a part of the Commission’s discussion regarding the ethical aspects of pre-event testing of an anthrax vaccine with children and, more broadly, the content of deliberations of the ethical considerations that should guide pre- and post-event medical countermeasure research with children.

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Read the comment policy before posting your comment.


This is a space for the members and staff of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to communicate with the public about the work of the commission and to discuss important issues in bioethics.

Learn more about the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.


You can receive updates about our blog via email subscription, RSS feed, or follow the Bioethics Commission on Twitter.