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OU Awards Major Biomedical Ethics Prize

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - Campus News -

An internal medicine physician with expertise in palliative care and doctor-patient communication was awarded the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics, an award presented by the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. This year’s recipient was Robert M. Arnold, M.D., professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, at the University of Pittsburgh and in the University of Pittsburgh Center for Bioethics and Health Law.

The $10,000 prize, awarded every two years, was established to honor Oklahoma City community leader Patricia Price Browne by selecting an individual who “demonstrates the highest standards in the medical or professional ethics fields.” The award was presented June 21 during the College of Medicine’s Pediatric Grand Rounds, where Arnold will gave a lecture titled “Dealing With Conflicts Over Appropriate Treatments: Theory and Practice.” 

“The Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics recognizes eminent leaders who guide the national discourse regarding the most complicated biomedical issues of our time,” said Russell Postier, M.D., interim executive dean of the OU College of Medicine. “Dr. Arnold is a national leader in the ethics that guide our profession, and we are pleased to have him as a deserving recipient.”

Arnold completed his medical school training at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and residency at Rhode Island Hospital. Subsequently, he has been on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the director of the Institute for Doctor-Patient Communication and the medical director of the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute. He is clinically active in palliative care. 

Arnold has published on end-of-life care, hospice and palliative care, doctor-patient communication and ethics education. His current research activities focus on teaching ethics to residents, doctor/patient communication with a focus on emotionally difficult topics surrounding serious illness, and improving palliative care in populations. He is working with the UPMC Health System to develop system-wide, integrative palliative services. He is past president of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities as well as the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

“This award is a great honor given the previous winners,” Arnold said. “I view my job as helping clinicians think about how to operationally incorporate ethical principles – bridging ethics, communication and clinical care. It is a thrill to be recognized for this work. To be honest, the award goes to all the clinicians, patients and philosophers who have taught me during my career.” 

Faculty, residents and medical students who attended Arnold’s presentation at Pediatric Grand Rounds benefited from listening to a national leader in bioethics. “We were excited to welcome Dr. Arnold to campus and to hear his insights on issues that are important to all of us in medicine,” said Morris Gessouroun, M.D., interim chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the OU College of Medicine. “His lecture represents one of the most important topics that physicians face today.”

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