James F. Childress

James F. Childress, PhD

James Childress

Professor Emeritus, University Professor, Professor of Ethics and Religious Studies

James F. Childress is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Virgina where he was a the John Allen Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics, Professor of Religious Studies, Professor of Public Policy, and Professor of Research in Medical Education in the School of Medicine. He is currently a member of the core faculty of the Center for Health Humanities and Ethics in the School of Medicine.

Professor Childress was the founding director of the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life and is the author of numerous articles and several books in biomedical ethics and in other areas of ethics. His books in biomedical ethics include Principles of Biomedical Ethics (with Tom L. Beauchamp), now in its 8th edition and translated into several languages; Priorities in Biomedical EthicsWho Should Decide? Paternalism in Health Care; and Practical Reasoning in Bioethics.  He is also co-editor of Belmont Revisited: Ethical Principles for Biomedical Research (with Eric Meslin and Harold Shapiro), and Organ Donation: Opportunities for Action (with Catharyn Liverman). He received his B.A. from Guilford College, his B.D. from Yale Divinity School, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Childress has been actively involved in several national committees examining ethics and public policy. He was vice chair of the national Task Force on Organ Transplantation, and he has also served on the Board of Directors of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the UNOS Ethics Committee, the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, the Human Gene Therapy Subcommittee, the Biomedical Ethics Advisory Committee, and several Data and Safety Monitoring Boards for NIH clinical trials. He was a member of the presidentially-appointed National Bioethics Advisory Commission 1996-2001. He also chaired the Health Sciences Policy Board of the Institute of Medicine. He currently serves on the Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine

Childress is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a fellow of the Hastings Center.

In 1990 he was named Professor of the Year in the state of Virginia by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education; in 2002 he received the University of Virginia’s highest honor—the Thomas Jefferson Award; in 2004 he received the Life-time Achievement Award from the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities; in 2010 he received the Henry Knowles Beecher Award from the Hastings Center.

He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, and a post-doctoral Liberal Arts Fellowship at Harvard Law School. In 2010, he was the Carey and Ann Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics at the Library of Congress.

He has been the Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. Professor of Christian Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University (1975-79) and a Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School and Princeton University.  He received his B.A. from Guilford College, his B.D. from Yale Divinity School, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.