January 5, 2012

Meador to direct Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society

Keith Meador, M.D., MPH, has been named director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Keith Meador, M.D., MPH

Meador succeeds Ellen Wright Clayton, M.D., J.D., Craig-Weaver Professor of Pediatrics, who is stepping down after 12 years as director to devote her attention to her research and policy work, including roles at the Institute of Medicine and the Human Genome Organization.

The Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society was created in 2006 by Clayton and Larry Churchill, Ph.D., professor of Medicine and Ann Geddes Stahlman Chair in Medical Ethics, who at the time directed the Center for Clinical and Research Ethics. Clayton had been serving as director for the Center for Genetics and Health Policy.

The two centers combined in order to create a stronger center at Vanderbilt for Biomedical Ethics, Law and Health Policy.

“Dr. Clayton’s accomplishments and significant leadership of the Center garnered substantive change. During her tenure as director, the Center expanded its research portfolio, grew its clinical ethics consultation service, and played an important role in development of Vanderbilt’s personalized medicine among many other important contributions,” said Robert Dittus, M.D., MPH, associate vice chancellor for Public Health and Health Care and senior associate dean for Population Health Sciences.

Meador said he is grateful senior faculty like Churchill, Clayton and others will continue to be deeply involved in critical public debate surrounding topics that range from the safety of vaccines to the ethical and legal issues surrounding conduct of genomics research and the use of genetic information to inform clinical care.

“We are making great advances in genomics and therapeutics at Vanderbilt, but if we want to optimize these advances, we must develop comparable sophistication in our capacity to know and interpret the socio-cultural and psychosocial dimensions of patients in personalized medicine, or we will limit our advances as a service to our patients and the broader culture,“ Meador said.

Meador came to Vanderbilt in 2010 from Duke University, where he had established and directed centers focused on the intersections of religion and health.