Bioethics Program History

NIEHS initiated its Bioethics Program in 1997 with the appointment of Richard Sharp, Ph.D. as its first bioethicist. The position included four basic responsibilities: education, research, consultation, and service to NIH and other federal agencies. Sharp, who reported to the Scientific Director in the Division of Intramural Research, held this position until 2003, when he left to take a job at the Baylor College of Medicine. In 2004, David B. Resnik, J.D., Ph.D. was appointed as NIEHS’ second bioethicist. Resnik conducted research on bioethics issues, provided education in responsible conduct of research to NIEHS researchers and trainees, consulted on bioethics issues with NIEHS researchers, organized bioethics workshops and seminars, served as vice-chair of NIEHS IRB, and supervised undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate interns in bioethics. In 2008, Resnik was appointed chair of NIEHS IRB. In 2009, the Bioethics Program was merged with NIH Ethics Program, so that the bioethicist would report to the Ethics Program Director, who would report to NIEHS's Director. The Bioethics Program was moved to the Office of the Director to offer bioethics consultation and support to employees and trainees at NIEHS (including extramural staff) and highlight the importance of ethics in NIEHS research.

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