Arthur L. Caplan

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Emeritus Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy
Department: Medical Ethics and Health Policy

Contact information
3401 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Fax: 215 573 3036
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, 1971.
Columbia University, New York, New York, 1973.
Columbia University, New York, New York, 1975.
Columbia University, New York, New York, 1979.
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Description of Bioethics Expertise

Transplantation research ethics, genetics, reproductive technologies, health policy, and general bioethics

Currently, the Emmanuel and Robert Hart Director of the Center for Bioethics and the Sydney D Caplan Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Prior to coming to Penn in 1994, Caplan taught at the University of Minnesota, the University of Pittsburgh, and Columbia University. He was the Associate Director of the Hastings Center from 1984-1987.

Born in Boston, Caplan did his undergraduate work at Brandeis University, and did his graduate work at Columbia University where he received a Ph.D in the history and philosophy of science in 1979.

Caplan is the author or editor of twenty-nine books and over 500 papers in refereed journals. His most recent books are Smart Mice Not So Smart People (Rowman Littlefield, 2006) and the Penn Guide to Bioethics (Springer, 2009).

He has served on a number of national and international committees including as the Chair, National Cancer Institute Biobanking Ethics Working Group; the Chair of the Advisory Committee to the United Nations on Human Cloning; the Chair of the Advisory Committee to the Department of Health and Human Services on Blood Safety and Availability; a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses; the special advisory committee to the International Olympic Committee on genetics and gene therapy; the ethics committee of the American Society of Gene Therapy; chair of the advisory committee on bioethics for GlaxoSmithKline and the special advisory panel to the National Institutes of Mental Health on human experimentation on vulnerable subjects. And most recently was the Co-Director of the Joint Council of Europe/United Nations Study on Trafficking in Organs and Body Parts.

He is a member of the board of directors of The Franklin Institute, The Keystone Center, Tengion, the National Center for Policy Research on Women and Families, Iron Disorders Foundation and the National Hemophilia Foundation’s Ethics Committee. He is on the Board of Visitors of the Columbia University School of Nursing.

Caplan writes a regular column on bioethics for He is a frequent guest and commentator on various media outlets.

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 person of the Year-2001 from USA Today. He was described as one of the ten most influential people in science by Discover magazine in 2008. He has also been honored as one of the fifty most influential people in American health care by Modern Health Care magazine, one of the ten most influential people in America in biotechnology by the National Journal, one of the ten most influential people in the ethics of biotechnology by the editors of Nature Biotechnology.

He holds seven honorary degrees from colleges and medical schools. He is a fellow of the Hastings Center, the NY Academy of Medicine, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the American College of Legal Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

February, 2010

Selected Publications

Caplan Arthur L: Is disease eradication ethical? Lancet 373(9682): 2192-3, Jun 2009.

Caplan Arthur L, Patrizio Pasquale: The beginning of the end of the embryo wars. Lancet 373(9669): 1074-5, Mar 2009.

Hull Sarah C, Caplan Arthur L: The case for vaccinating boys against human papillomavirus. Public health genomics 12(5-6): 362-7, 2009.

Caplan Arthur: Denying autonomy in order to create it: the paradox of forcing treatment upon addicts. Addiction (Abingdon, England) 103(12): 1919-21, Dec 2008.

Caplan Arthur L: Cancer and bioethics: caring and consensus. Cancer 113(7 Suppl): 1801-6, Oct 2008.

Baker Charles D, Caplan Arthur, Davis Karen, Dentzer Susan, Epstein Arnold M, Frist Bill, Galvin Robert S, King-Shaw Ruben J, Lee Thomas H, Oberlander Jonathan B, Rosenbaum Sara, Schroeder Steven A, Tuckson Reed V: Health of the nation--coverage for all Americans. The New England journal of medicine 359(8): 777-80, Aug 2008.

Matloff Ellen, Caplan Arthur: Direct to confusion: lessons learned from marketing BRCA testing. The American journal of bioethics : AJOB 8(6): 5-8, Jun 2008.

Halpern Scott D, Shaked Abraham, Hasz Richard D, Caplan Arthur L: Informing candidates for solid-organ transplantation about donor risk factors. The New England journal of medicine 358(26): 2832-7, Jun 2008.

Field Robert I, Caplan Arthur L: A proposed ethical framework for vaccine mandates: competing values and the case of HPV. Kennedy Institute of Ethics journal 18(2): 111-24, Jun 2008.

Hull Sarah C, Caplan Arthur L: Genital warts: mountains or molehills? The Lancet infectious diseases 8(5): 277-8, May 2008.

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Last updated: 03/02/2010
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