The Hastings Center
Woodlawn, the center's headquarters
|Formation||August 28, 1969|
|Type||Bioethics research institute|
|Mildred Z. Solomon|
The Hastings Center is an independent bioethics research institute based in Garrison, New York. Founded in 1969 as the first bioethics research organization, the center was important in establishing bioethics as a field of study.
The center aims to address ethical issues in health, health care, life sciences research and the environment affecting individuals, communities, and societies. Hastings scholars publish regular reports, articles and blogs, as well as specific guidelines, policy recommendations and books. They testify at Congressional and Presidential hearings and at national and global conferences.
Origin and location
The Hastings Center was founded by Daniel Callahan and Willard Gaylin, and was recognized as a non-profit organization on August 28, 1969. Offices were originally located in Hastings-on-Hudson, and then subsequently moved to the Briarcliff College site in Briarcliff Manor. The Center is now located in Garrison, New York, on the former Woodlawn estate designed by Richard Upjohn.
The Hastings Center is best known as the publisher of two journals in bioethics, the Hastings Center Report, and IRB: Ethics & Human Research, which feature scholarship and commentary in bioethics. Both are published six times per year. The Report also periodically features special reports, published as supplements, from the center's research projects. Bioethics Forum, the blog of the Hastings Center, publishes individual perspectives on current issues in bioethics.
The Hastings Center's projects, carried out by interdisciplinary research teams, focus on five program areas: health and health care; children and families; aging, chronic conditions, and care near the end of life; emerging science and conceptions of the self; and human impact on the natural world, as well as "through-lines" like human research subjects and education.
Issues can range from stem cell politics, to globalization and its impact on health status, to "wiser" health care. Primary research areas include genetics and biotechnology, health care and health policy, ethics, science, the environment, and international science ethics. The center strives to frame and explore issues that inform professional practice, public conversation, and social policy.
The center conducts seminar-style meetings to review developments in science and policy, frame legal and social issues, and in-depth critical reflection on fundamental principles and values. Hastings research scholars write and speak on a variety of topics and assist members of the press and others.
The Robert S. Morison Library, located at the center's offices in Garrison, New York, serves as a resource for Hastings scholars, fellows, and visitors.
Reception and influence
The Hastings Center's 1987 "Guidelines on the Termination of Life-Sustaining Treatment and the Care of the Dying" remain the standard in the field of bioethics. Several court decisions, including the 1990 Supreme Court ruling in Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, have cited the guidelines which were published in an updated version in 2013.
Hastings Center staff are frequently called upon for policy advice by committees and agencies at both the Federal and state levels.
Henry Knowles Beecher Awards
Since 1976, the Henry Knowles Beecher Award has recognized people with a lifetime contribution to ethics and life sciences, with high-quality scholarship and research. A committee of Hastings Center fellows convenes to nominate candidates for the award, which is named for its inaugural recipient Henry K. Beecher, a pioneer in the fields of anesthesiology and medical ethics.
Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards
In 2009, The Hastings Center joined the Cunniff-Dixon Foundation to create the Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards. This award recognizes excellence in the field of care at the end of life. Recipients are selected in a process coordinated by the Hastings Center and Duke University's Institute on Care at the End of Life.
First awarded in 2010, the Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards initially honored one established physician and three early-career physicians. In 2011, an additional awards category was created, recognizing the accomplishments of a mid-career physician; since that year, five prizes worth a combined value of $95,000 have been distributed annually.
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