Arthur Leonard Caplan, Ph.D.
Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor Founding head, Division of Medical Ethics New York University School of Medicine
Dr. Caplan is the Currently the Drs. William F and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor and founding head of the Division of Medical Ethics at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City (NYU).
Prior to NYU, Dr. Caplan was the Sidney D. Caplan Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, where he created the Center for Bioethics and the Department of Medical Ethics. He has also taught at the University of Minnesota, where he founded the Center for Biomedical Ethics, the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Dr. Caplan is the author or editor of 35 books and over 725 papers in peer-reviewed journals. His most recent books are The Ethics of Sport (Oxford University Press, 2016 with Brendan Parent) and Vaccination Ethics and Policy (MIT Press, 2017 with Jason Schwartz).
He has served on a number of national and international committees including as chair of the National Cancer Institute Biobanking Ethics Working Group, chair of the Advisory Committee to the United Nations on Human Cloning, and chair of the Advisory Committee to the Department of Health and Human Services on Blood Safety and Availability. He has also served on the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses, the special advisory committee to the International Olympic Committee on genetics and gene therapy, the Special Advisory Panel to the National Institutes of Mental Health on Human Experimentation on Vulnerable Subjects, the Wellcome Trust Advisory Panel on Research in Humanitarian Crises, and the co-director of the Joint Council of Europe/United Nations Study on Trafficking in Organs and Body Parts.
He is currently the ethics advisor to the U.S. Department of Defenses’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on synthetic biology, a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s External Advisory Committee for its Orphan Disease Center, a member of the Ethics and Ebola Working Group of the World Health Organization and an advisor to the National Institutes of Health on organ transplantation. Dr. Caplan also serves as the chairperson of the Compassionate Use Advisory Committee (CompAC), an independent group of internationally recognized medical experts, bioethicists and patient representatives which advises Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals about requests for compassionate use of some of its investigational medicines.
Dr. Caplan is a regular commentator on bioethics and health care issues for WebMD/Medscape, for WGBH radio in Boston and WMNF public radio in Tampa. He appears frequently as a guest and commentator on various other national and international media outlets.
Dr. Caplan is the recipient of many awards and honors including the McGovern Medal of the American Medical Writers Association and the Franklin Award from the City of Philadelphia. He was a USA Today 2001 “Person of the Year and was described as one of the 10 most influential people in science by Discover magazine in 2008. He has also been honored as one of the 50 most influential people in American health care by Modern Health Care magazine, one of the 10 most influential people in America in biotechnology by the National Journal, one of the 10 most influential people in the ethics of biotechnology by the editors of Nature Biotechnology, and one of the 100 most influential people in biotechnology by Scientific American magazine. He received the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics for 2011. In 2014 he was selected to receive the Public Service Award from the National Science Foundation/National Science Board, which honors individuals and groups that have made substantial contributions to increasing public understanding of science and engineering in the United States.
In 2016 the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) honored him with their Rare Impact Award. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Bioethics and the Humanities in October.
He holds seven honorary degrees from colleges and medical schools and is a fellow of the Hastings Center, the New York Academy of Medicine, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the American College of Legal Medicine, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.