The blog of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

Tom Beauchamp, Ph.D. to address Commission

Tom Beauchamp, Ph.D., an invited speaker at the 12th meeting of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, has been a Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and a Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University for more than 30 years.

Beauchamp has earned many accolades in the field of bioethics.  He joins the Commission’s meeting for continued discussion of the issue of pediatric medical countermeasures.

In 1975 he began work as a staff member of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, where he jointly authored the Belmont Report, a formative text in bioethics. The National Commission is generally viewed as the first national bioethics commission.  (For more information about prior bioethics commissions see

Beauchamp’s research interests include the ethics of human subjects research, the place of universal principles and rights in biomedical ethics, methods of bioethics, the philosopher David Hume, and business ethics.

Beauchamp received B.A. and M.A. degrees from Southern Methodist University, a B.D. degree from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University.

His 140 plus scholarly publications include: Frontiers of Biomedical Ethics; The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics; The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Animals; Principles of Biomedical Ethics; A History and Theory of Informed Consent; The Human Use of Animals; and Philosophical Ethics. He is also an editor of The Clarendon Hume.

Beauchamp was presented with Georgetown’s Career Recognition Award in 2003 for distinguished research across an entire career and in 2004, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities.

He currently holds an NIH Challenge Grant for work on the distinction between research and treatment, as well as a National Science Foundation award to continue his work in animal research ethics.

He joins the meeting today via videoconference to discuss how the Belmont principles apply in assessing whether research with individual children as participants is ethically permissible, as well as the ethical permissibility of balancing research risk and direct benefit to the individual child.

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