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Dr. Paul Wolpe        

Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics; Director, Center for Ethics

Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D. is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics, the Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair in Jewish Bioethics, a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Sociology, and the Director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. Dr. Wolpe also serves as the first Senior Bioethicist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), where he is responsible for formulating policy on bioethical issues and safeguarding research subjects. He is Co-Editor of the American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB), the premier scholarly journal in bioethics, and Editor of AJOB Neuroscience, and sits on the editorial boards of over a dozen professional journals in medicine and ethics. Dr. Wolpe is a past President of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities; a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the country's oldest medical society; a Fellow of the Hastings Center, the oldest bioethics institute in America; and was the first National Bioethics Advisor to Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Dr. Wolpe moved to Emory University in the summer of 2008 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was on the faculty for over 20 years in the Departments of Psychiatry, Sociology, and Medical Ethics. He was a Senior Fellow of Penn's Center for Bioethics, and directed the Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health and the Program in Psychiatry and Ethics at the School of Medicine.

Dr. Wolpe is the author of over 125 articles, editorials, and book chapters in sociology, medicine, and bioethics, and has contributed to a variety of encyclopedias on bioethical issues. A futurist interested in social dynamics, Dr. Wolpe's work focuses on the social, religious, ethical, and ideological impact of technology on the human condition. Considered one of the founders of the field of neuroethics, which examines the ethical implications of neuroscience, he also writes about other emerging technologies, such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, prosthetics, and new reproductive technologies. His teaching and publications range across multiple fields of bioethics and sociology, including death and dying, genetics and eugenics, sexuality and gender, mental health and illness, alternative medicine, and bioethics in extreme environments such as space. He is the co-author of the textbook "Sexuality and Gender in Society," and editor and a key author of the end-of-life guide "Behoref Hayamim: In the Winter of Life."

Dr. Wolpe sits on a number of national and international non-profit organizational boards and working groups, and is a consultant to academic institutions and the biomedical industry. In July, 2010, he testified to the President's Commission on the Study of Bioethical Issues in Washington, DC on ethical issues in synthetic biology. A dynamic and popular speaker internationally, Dr. Wolpe has been chosen by The Teaching Company as a "Superstar Teacher of America," and his courses are distributed internationally on audio and videotape. He has won the World Technology Network Award in Ethics, has been featured in a TED talk, and was profiled in the November 2011 Atlantic Magazine as a "Brave Thinker of 2011." Dr. Wolpe is a frequent contributor and commentator in both the broadcast and print media, recently featured on "60 Minutes" and with a personal profile in the Science Times of the New York Times.

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Speech Topics


Ethical Leadership: Modeling Behavior with Integrity

A recent poll of top executives by the American Management Association asked, “What characteristics and skills are needed to be an effective leader today?” The number one answer was “Ethical Behavior.” Leadership is not only about inspiring, motivating, and taking responsibility for decisions. It is also about being a model of correct behavior in an organization. Ethical Leadership is a way of making decisions with integrity that reverberates throughout an organization. The basic principles are Ethical Leadership are discussed.

Boomers and Biotech: How the Needs of America’s Biggest Cohort Drive Biotechnology

The 78 million Boomers are now between 45 and 60 years old, and they aren’t getting younger. The history of the United States over the last half century has been, to a large extent, driven by the needs of the Boomers: Rock-and-roll took over when they were teenagers; politics changed when they protested the war and began to vote; business changed when they began to move up the management chain the 80s; and daycare, flex time, and baby products transformed when they began to have children. Now the Boomers are getting older, and biotechnology is responding, creating pharmaceuticals to enhance memory and sexual function, developing reproductive techniques that allow women to bear children into their sixties, and exploring ways to “cure” aging. In this talk, we explore the social and ethical implications of ways aging Boomers will drive biotechnological development in the coming decades.

Re-Creation: The Biotechnological Restructuring of Life

The convergence of a variety of technologies – synthetic biology, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, neurotechnology, and informational and computational technology – is already changing the way we diagnose and cure disease, reproduce, and enhance ourselves. As the biotechnology industries are developing astonishing new products, they their potential to infringe on people’s privacy and bodily integrity, and to change “human nature,” is raising troubling questions. In this talk, we look at the cutting-edge technologies that are changing our lives, the social, ethical, and legal challenges they will bring.

Additional Topics

Paul Wolpe can also address the following topics: - Designer Health Care: Changing Demand, Creative Services - Building Better Brains: How Neuroscience is Altering Human Functioning - Is My Mind Mine? Neuroscience, Privacy, and the Self - Cloning, Stem Cells, and the Meaning of “Life” - Designing Our Descendants: Reproductive Eugenics in the 21st Century - Borrowing Our Bodies: The Vexing Ethics of Human Medical Research - The Munchkin Way of Death - Bioethics in Space: NASA and the Thorny Problems of Ethics in Extreme Environments - The Rise of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Why Now, and What Does it Mean? - Is Everything a Placebo Effect? Science, Medicine and Ways of Knowing - Ethical Leadership in Health Care - Pharmacogenomics - Ethics of Legacy Giving and Wills - Managed Care and Health Reform - Religious Perspectives on Biotechnology - Ethics, the Media, and Resistance to Biotechnology

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