Upenn president to advise Obama

    President Obama has selected the president of the University of Pennsylvania to serve as the chair of his bioethics commission. WHYY’s health and science reporter Kerry Grens has more.

    President Obama has selected the president of the University of Pennsylvania to serve as the chair of his bioethics commission.

    Amy Gutmann, the president of Penn, received an unexpected phone call from the White House.

    Gutmann: Asking if I would be willing to serve as the chair of the president’s commission, and I said I would be honored to do so.

    Gutmann describes herself as a scholar of public policy and ethics and a political philosopher. She says she thinks she was chosen because of her expertise in so-called “democratic deliberation,” which may come in handy while leading a diverse panel of scientists, lawyers, a Franciscan monk and others.

    Gutmann says innovation in science and health care is currently unprecedented.

    Gutmann: At the same time these kinds of changes bring with them big challenges of how to go forward in an ethically and socially responsible way.

    Gutmann says she’s not sure what will be on the commission’s agenda. The first meeting is in July.

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