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Stephen Post    

Author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping

Stephen G. Post is Professor of Preventive Medicine and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. He was previously (19882008) Professor in the School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, and Senior Research Scholar at the Becket Institute of St. Hughs College, Oxford University. Post is a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, and a Distinguished Senior Advisor for the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

A public intellectual committed to conveying important ideas in the wider culture, Post has appeared on a wide range of television programs such as Nightline and 20/20. He is sought after as a public speaker by community and professional groups, and is the recipient of the "Top Notch Public Speaker Award" from the Ohio Endowment for the Humanities. His work on altruism, compassionate care, love and bioethics has been covered in several thousand newspapers and magazines around the world. He is co-author of the popular book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People, published by Broadway Books of Random House in 2007.

Post is a leader in the study of altruism, compassionate health care, and love in the integrative context of scientific research, health care delivery and outcomes, philosophy, and religious thought. He is President of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, an Ohio-based 501 (c)(3) established in July 2001 with support from philanthropist John Templeton and the Templeton Foundation. The Institute has supported high level empirical research at more than fifty universities on topics related to unselfish love and its effects. Post became interested in these topics while a youth at St. Pauls School in New Hampshire, where he studied with African-American philosopher Rev. John T. Walker, who later became Dean of the National Cathedral. Post worked in biological research before completing his Ph.D. (1983) on the relationship between other-regarding love and happiness at the University of Chicago under James M. Gustafson, where he was an elected University Fellow, a preceptor in the Pritzker School of Medicine, and a Fellow in the Martin E. Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion. He received the Hope in Healthcare Award in 2008 for his "pioneering research and education in the field of unconditional love, altruism, compassion, and service." His work was included in the distinguished series "Best American Spiritual Writing" (2005), and he received the Kama Book Award in Medical Humanities from World Literacy Canada (2008). Post is an elected member of the International Society for Science and Religion. He writes the Psychology Today blog entitled "The Joy of Giving."

From the late 1980s, Post focused on ethical and social issues surrounding persons with developmental cognitive disabilities and dementia. He is an elected member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Panel of Alzheimer's Disease International, and was recognized for distinguished service by the Associations National Board for educational efforts in bringing ethical issues to Association Chapters and families throughout the United States (1998). In 2003, Post was elected a Member of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia for "distinguished contributions to medicine." His book entitled The Moral Challenge of Alzheimer Disease: Ethical Issues from Diagnosis to Dying (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000, 2nd edition) was widely influential. He has contributed numerous studies pertaining to dementia on topics such as genetic testing, anti-aging technologies, and hospice care. In 1994, Post was elected a Hastings Center Fellow, and a Senior Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. Post co-founded the Bioethics Network of Ohio. He served as editor-in-chief of the definitive reference work in the field of bioethics, the third edition of the five-volume Encyclopedia of Bioethics (Macmillan Reference, 2004).

He is the primary author of over 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Science, The International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, The Journal of Religion, The American Journal of Psychiatry, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, The Hastings Center Report, The Journal of Social Philosophy, and The Lancet. He has written seven scholarly books on altruism, compassionate care, and love, and is also the editor of eight other books, including Altruism & Health: Perspectives from Empirical Research, and Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue, both published by Oxford University Press.

Post authored and co-authored a set of articles in the early 1990s that contributed directly to the de-pathologizing of religion and spirituality in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM IV). He then served on the Board of Directors of the National Institute for Healthcare Research, which supported a generation of researchers investigating religion and health in medical schools across the United States. Post consulted extensively with the Division of Religious Liberty of the National Council of Churches, U.S.A.

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