Dan W. Brock, PhD

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Dan W. Brock, PhD

Contact Information

Department of Social Medicine
Division of Medical Ethics
Harvard Medical School
641 Huntington Ave., 4th floor
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: 617-432-5131
Email: dan_brock@hms.harvard.edu


Ph.D., Philosophy, Columbia University
B.A., Economics, Cornell University

Dan Brock is the Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics in the Department of Social Medicine, the Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the Harvard Medical School, and the Director of the Harvard University Program in Ethics and Health.

Prior to his arrival at Harvard, Professor Brock was Senior Scientist and a member of the Department of Clinical Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health. Until July 2002, he was Charles C. Tillinghast, Jr. University Professor, Professor of Philosophy and Biomedical Ethics, and Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Brown University where he had a joint appointment in the Philosophy Department (of which he was Chair in 1980-86) and in the Medical School. He served as Staff Philosopher on the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine in 1981-82, and in 1993 was a member of the Ethics Working Group of the Clinton Task Force on National Health Reform. He has been a consultant in biomedical ethics and health policy to numerous national and international bodies, including the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress, the Institute of Medicine, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and the World Health Organization. He is a Fellow and former member of the Board of Directors of the Hastings Center, and was a Fellow in the Ethics and Professions' Program and in the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard University in 1991-92. He was President of the American Association of Bioethics in 1995-96, and was a founding Board Member of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.

He is the author of over 150 articles in bioethics and in moral and political philosophy, which have appeared in books and refereed scholarly journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Science, Hastings Center Report, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and Ethics. He is the author of Deciding For Others: The Ethics of Surrogate Decision Making, 1989, (with Allen E. Buchanan), Life and Death: Philosophical Essays in Biomedical Ethics, 1993, and From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice (with Allen Buchanan, Norman Daniels and Daniel Wikler) 2000, all published by Cambridge University Press. He is currently an editorial board member of 12 professional journals in ethics, bioethics and health policy, and has lectured widely at national and international conferences, professional societies, universities, and health care institutions.

Ongoing Research

Current research focuses on ethical issues in health resource prioritization, with a special focus on cost-effectiveness analysis, and on genetic selection for enhancement and to prevent disability.

Select Publications

  • Deciding For Others: The Ethics of Surrogate Decisionmaking (with Allen E. Buchanan) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
  • Life and Death: Philosophical Essays in Biomedical Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • From Chance to Choice: Genes and Social Justice (with Allen E. Buchanan, Norman Daniels and Daniel Wikler) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  • “Voluntary Active Euthanasia,” Hastings Center Report, 22 (March-April 1992) 10-22.
  • “Cloning Human Beings: An Assessment of the Ethical Issues Pro and Con,” in Cloning Human Beings Volume II: Commissioned Papers. Rockville, MD: National Bioethics Advisory Commission, 1997.
  • “The Rule of Double Affect - A Critique of its Role in End of Life Decision Making,” (with Timothy E. Quill, and Rebecca Dresser). New England Journal of Medicine, 337 (1997) 1768-71.
  • “Palliative Options of Last Resort: A Comparison of Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking, Terminal Sedation, Physician Assisted Suicide, and Voluntary Euthanasia” (with Timothy E. Quill and Bernard Lo), Journal of the American Medical Association, 278 (1997) 2099-04.
  • “Enhancement of Human Function; Some Distinctions for Policy Makers,” in Technologies for the Enhancement of Human Capacities, ed. E. Parens. Washington DC: Georgetown University press, 1998.
  • “Health Care Resource Prioritization and Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities”, in Americans With Disabilities: Implications for Individuals and Institutions. Eds. Leslie Francis and Anita Silvers. New York: Routledge, 2000.
  • “Health Resource Allocation for Vulnerable Populations” in Ethical Dimensions of Health Policy, eds. M. Danis, C. Clancy and L. Churchill. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • “Ethical Issues in the Use of Cost Effectiveness Analysis for the Prioritization of Health Care Resources,” in Bioethics: A Philosophical Overview, ed. George Khusfh. (Dordrecht: Kluwer Publishers, 2004). Also in:
    • Public Health, Ethics, and Equity, eds. Sudhir Anand, Fabienne Peter, and Amartya Sen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
    • Making choices in Health: WHO Guide to Cost-Effectiveness Analysis, eds. T Tan-Torres Edejer, et. al. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2003.
  • “Priority to the Worst Off in Health Care Resource Prioritization,” in Medicine and Social Justice, eds. M. Battin, R. Rhodes and A. Silvers. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • “Human Cloning and Our Sense of Self," Science 296 (April 12, 2002) pp. 314-316.

Recent Journals, Chapters, and Editorials

  • “Separate Spheres and Indirect Benefits," Cost-Effectiveness and Resource Allocation (2003) 1:4.
  • “Precommitment in Bioethics: Some Theoretical Issues,” Texas Law Review, 81, 7 (2003) 1805-1821.
  • “Physician-Assisted Suicide as a Last Resort Option at the End of Life,” in Physician Assisted Dying: The Case for Palliative Care and Patient Choice, eds T. Quill and M. Battin. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
  • “Terminal Sedation from the Moral Rights Perspective,” in Terminal Sedation: Euthanasia in Disguise?, Ed. T. Tannsjo. Dordrecht: Kluwer Publishers, 2004.
  • “The Misplaced Role of Urgency in Allocation of Persistently Scarce Life-Saving Organs,” in Ethics in Organ Transplantation, eds A. Daar, T Gutmann and W. Land. Lengerich Germany: Pabst Science Publishers, 2004.
  • “Shaping Future Children: Parental Rights and Societal Interests,”Journal of Political Philosophy, forthcoming 2005.