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The McCormick Religion and Science Lectureship


The 2011 McCormick Lectureship in Science and Religion was held April 8, 2011.

About Tom McCormick: As a campus minister at the UW in the mid '60's, Dr. McCormick was invited by Dr. Betty Gilson and other faculty at the School of Medicine, to provide informal seminars in bioethics and in the care of dying patients. After completing his doctoral studies in ethics at SMU, McCormick was invited by Dr. Charles Bodemer to join the faculty in the Department of Biomedical History at the School of Medicine to initiate a program in medical ethics. McCormick joined the faculty part-time in the summer of 1974, while continuing his work as a campus minister, and for over a decade was the sole instructor in bioethics at the School of Medicine, teaching in the core curriculum on the Seattle campus, and later at the WWAMI sites in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho, as well as offering electives each quarter at the UW campus. In 1983 McCormick received an award for “Distinguished Service as Campus Minister,” from the NW Regional office of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) In 1985, Dr. McCormick resigned as campus minister in order to go full time on the faculty and about that time, Dr. Al Jonsen came to the UW as chair, Dr. Nancy Jecker was hired in ethics and the department name was changed to the Department of Medical History and Ethics to more appropriately reflect its mission in the School of Medicine. In 2008, the department changed its name to the Department of Bioethics and Humanities.

In February, 2001, Dr. McCormick officially retired as Director of Counseling for the School of Medicine, (another program he had helped create at the invitation of then Dean, Robert Van Citters,) and stepped down to a 40% time position as Senior Lecturer Emeritus. In this role, he offers two electives in fall and spring quarters and continues to teach ethics in the medical school's core curriculum and is guest lecturer in a number of other departments. In 2005 he served as co-director for the week long Continuing Medical Education program, the Summer Seminar in Clinical Bioethics. Several of his courses are multi-disciplinary. For example, B H 518, “Spirituality in Health Care,” is an elective involving students in medicine, nursing, social work and a variety of other health care disciplines and is taught by a multidisciplinary team of instructors.

Dr. McCormick’s research interests include “transcultural aspects of decision making in bioethics.” He has lectured in Italy and contributed a chapter for an Italian bioethics text. He has lectured in Japan and was co-author for a poster presentation on bioethics with a colleague, Prof. Shinobu Gamou, PhD., Kyorin University.

The CMHE is an ecumenical ministry located in the U-district at 4525 19th NE, with a long history of providing services to students, staff and faculty at the University of Washington, since its origin in 1948 as the Baptist-Disciple Student House, and later as the Koinonia Center, when the United Church of Christ joined this effort in July, 1965.The Cooperating Ministries in Higher Education (CMHE) at the University of Washington is now a ministry of five Protestant denominations including the American Baptist, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church USA.

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