NYMC > Commencement > History, Awards and Traditions > Previous Honorary Degree Recipients > 2009 - Daniel Sulmasy

Daniel P. Sulmasy, O.F.M., M.D., Ph.D.

Daniel Sulmasy, M.D., Ph.D.Daniel P. Sulmasy, O.F.M., M.D., Ph.D., a Franciscan friar and a physician, holds the Sisters of Charity Chair in Ethics at St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan, and serves as professor of medicine and director of the Bioethics Institute of New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y. At the close of this academic year, he will leave these posts to accept an endowed chair at the University of Chicago.

Throughout his career, he has skillfully balanced the clinical and the academic, most recently in his role as ethicist-in-residence at St. Vincent’s and New York Medical College, where he was instrumental in the formation and development of innovative programs and research on a wide range of bioethical issues.

Soon after joining the College faculty in 1998, Dr. Sulmasy began strengthening the Institute for Bioethics, establishing such programs as a four-year ethics curriculum for medical students, faculty development seminars, and a lecture series on spirituality and medicine. His research in bioethics led to numerous published articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association. As an in-demand invited lecturer, he spoke to audiences around the world, and in 2007 he presented testimony on the subject of advance directives before the Italian Senate in Rome, one of only two representatives from the U.S. on a panel of internationally known experts. He is often called upon by national news media for his expertise and commentary on such thorny ethical matters as physician-assisted suicide, life-extending technologies, stem cell research and cloning.

In 2004, Dr. Sulmasy initiated a year-long interfaith conference series called “Spirituality, Religious Wisdom and the Care of the Patient,” which was presented in alternating sessions at St. Vincent’s and at the College’s Valhalla campus. The lectures, which were published online in The Yale Journal of Humanities and Medicine, were made into a DVD for distribution to every medical school in the United States.

In 2005, Dr. Sulmasy was appointed by Gov. George Pataki to the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, and in 2007 was appointed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer to the Ethics Committee of the Empire State Stem Cell Board. He serves as editor-in-chief of the journal Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, and is the author of four books: The Healer’s Calling (1997), Methods in Medical Ethics (2001), The Rebirth of the Clinic (2006) and A Balm for Gilead: Meditations on Spirituality and the Healing Arts (2006). He serves on numerous editorial boards and has written or contributed to more than 300 published works, including book chapters and articles that have appeared in medical, philosophical, and theological journals. He has lectured widely both in the U.S. and abroad, and he is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and the American College of Physicians.

Before joining the College and St. Vincent’s, Dr. Sulmasy served as director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics, and was senior research scholar of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

He holds an A.B. degree with honors from Cornell University College of Arts, and received his M.D. degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1982. He completed his residency, chief residency, and post-doctoral fellowship in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He received a Ph.D. with distinction in philosophy from Georgetown University in 1995.

In his new position at the University of Chicago, he will serve as the Clinton-Kilbride Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics in the Pritzker School of Medicine, with a co-appointment as professor of medical ethics in the Divinity School. He will also serve as associate director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.