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Dr. Joseph Fins Delivers Inaugural 'Humanism at the Cross-Roads' Address

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Dr. Joseph Fins
Dr. Joseph Fins
Dr. Joseph Fins, chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at the Medical College, delivered an informative keynote address on "Back to the Future: Cultures of Death and Dying in America" on February 19, at Cornell University's Ithaca campus.

His address inaugurated the Society for the Humanities at Cornell's (SHC) interdisciplinary colloquium, "Humanism at the Cross-Roads," a collaboration among faculty members at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and Cornell's Ithaca campus. In his talk, Dr. Fins focused on the history of health care in the United States as well as the ethical issues involved with caring for severely injured and terminally ill patients. Brett de Bary, director of the SHC, who introduced Dr. Fins as the guest speaker, previously noted, "One of the initiatives of our new president, Jeffrey Lehman, has been to increase interaction between our faculty and the faculty of the Medical College"

Dr. Fins, a nationally known medical ethicist, is also director of medical ethics at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and a professor of medicine and professor of public health. He is a distinguished teacher and public speaker on ethical issues involved with care for patients with severe brain injuries. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University, Dr. Fins earned his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1986. He then completed a residency and fellowship in internal medicine at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He is the author of numerous articles on subjects including the allocation of health-care resources and reform; economics and medicine; and end-of-life decisions.

A panel of Cornell University (Ithaca campus) faculty discussed Dr. Fins' presentation following his talk in the Andrew Dickson White House. Panelists included Michele Moody-Adams, director of Cornell's Ethics and Public Life Program; Erin McLeary, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies; Barry Maxwell, senior lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature and the American Studies Program; Shirley Samuels, professor in the Department of English and the American Studies Program; and Trevor Morrison, assistant professor in the Law School.

The colloquium was co-sponsored by the SHC; the Office of the Vice Provost for Medical Affairs; and the Program on Ethics and Public Life, with support from the Irving "Chips" Cantor Fund.

Photo by Cornell University Photography.

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