Emory University | Woodruff Health Sciences Center
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Hilton grant funds new chair in global health ethics

By Pam Auchmutey

Should childhood vaccinations be mandatory to prevent incidents like the recent measles outbreak in California?

In Liberia, where a military presence has long been associated with civil war, what steps are needed to assure citizens that U.S. troops are there to help by building Ebola treatment facilities? How can health experts develop interventions for diabetes and obesity that are ethically sound for diverse populations?

A new endowed chair funded by a $2 million gift from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will help explore such questions through teaching and research. Recruitment is under way for the Conrad N. Hilton Chair in Global Health Ethics, a joint faculty appointment in the Hubert Department of Global Health at Rollins and the Emory Center for Ethics.

"Building our expertise and capacity in global health ethics is imperative," says Rollins Dean James Curran. "The challenges in public health today are daunting. How do we extend the lives of people in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average life expectancy is 55? How do we provide fair and affordable access to health care in this country? What principles should guide the distribution of scarce resources, such as an Ebola vaccine? The scholar who holds the Hilton chair will broaden our thinking and our ability to work through these complex issues."

The new chair links Rollins closely with the Emory Center for Ethics, whose faculty come from disciplines across the university. Among them are Ruth Berkelman, Rollins professor and director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research, and Dabney Evans 98MPH, assistant professor of global health and director of the Institute for Human Rights.

As ethics center director Paul Root Wolpe notes, the Hilton Chair in Global Health Ethics is part of a long-term plan to collaborate more with Rollins, 
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Carter Center, and other Atlanta-based health partners.

"Given our connections with the public health community in Atlanta and our national visibility, Emory is poised to develop a premier program in global health ethics," says Wolpe, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics. "Establishing the Hilton Chair is a step in that direction."

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