Medical Center Jesuit Appointed To Ethics Chair FitzGerald To Focus On Bioethical Issues

By Kristen Wayne Hoya Staff Writer

An associate professor at Georgetown’s Medical Center has been appointed to the center’s newly-established Lauler Chair in Catholic Health Care Ethics. Kevin T. FitzGerald, S.J., will hold the chair, which honors the late Dr. David P. Lauler (MED ’57).

In his new capacity, FitzGerald will guide Georgetown in responding to current bioethical issues.

“A particular interest for me will be to make more public and obvious the contribution the Catholic moral tradition would like to make to this discussion of how we should use these new technologies, especially for the good of all,” FitzGerald said.

FitzGerald comes to Georgetown from the Loyola University edical Center in Chicago, where he was an assistant professor in the department of medicine. He will now serve as a research associate professor of oncology in Georgetown’s Center for Clinical Bioethics.

Previously, his research has related to abnormal gene regulation in cancer, especially infant leukemia. He has also been published in books, peer-reviewed journals and the popular press in regards to ethical issues including cloning, the Human Genome Project and stem cell research. During the past decade, FitzGerald has also been an ethics consultant for the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

FitzGerald earned his master of divinity degree from the Berkeley, California, Jesuit School of Theology. He received doctorates in both molecular genetics and bioethics from Georgetown.

His formal inauguration to the chair took place in a ceremony onday, Sept. 10.

“We are ecstatic that Kevin has come back to us,” said Rev. Brian O. McDermott, S.J., the Rector of the Jesuit Community at the ceremony.

FitzGerald’s address, entitled “A Catholic Vision for Biotechnology,” discussed current bioethics issues, as well as possible future issues, and related them to Catholic morality. “The truth is on our side,” FitzGerald said. “We don’t have to deny anything . We can openly embrace the truth.”

FitzGerald said people should take new medical information we possess and “integrate it into a better philosophical and theological understanding of ourselves.”

FitzGerald concluded by speaking of how bright the future can be if great technological gifts are used to help fellow human beings.

University Provost Dorothy Brown served as the master of ceremonies. The invocation was given by Mark Delerey, S.J. University President John J. De Gioia then presided over the inauguration of the chair and presented the Inaugural Medal. Mr. Barry Sullivan (C ’53), a classmate of David P. Lauler and rs. Joan Lauler (NUR ’56) accepted the medal. Sister Carol Taylor, the director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics and a former classmate of FitzGerald, introduced him as the first Lauler Chair.

“This is Georgetown’s family at its best,” Taylor said.

FitzGerald is also a consultant to the United States Catholic Conference and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion.

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