December 20, 2011

Message from the Vice Chancellor: New director named for the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Keith G. Meador, M.D., Th.M., MPH, as the new director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society.

Dr. Meador is professor of Psychiatry, Preventive Medicine and Religion and also serves as vice chair for Faculty Affairs in the Department of Psychiatry. Since joining Vanderbilt from Duke University a little over a year ago, where he was also a professor in the Schools of Medicine and Divinity, he has served as co-director of our Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society. He is also the director of Mental Health and Chaplaincy, a national program based in the Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health Services.

Dr. Meador is widely published and speaks nationally and internationally on the intersections of medicine and religion and their ethical implications in the practice of medicine.

He has mentored a host of postdoctoral fellows, students and residents through the years. His abiding interest in applying the virtues and practical wisdom of medicine in the care of those who suffer compels his academic vision for education and scholarship in biomedical ethics.

We are delighted to have a person with Keith’s scholarly background and administrative gifts succeed Ellen Wright Clayton, M.D.

Dr. Clayton steps down after 12 years of service, as director of this center and previously the Center for Genetics and Health Policy, to devote even more attention to scholarship and a host of leadership activities where she represents Vanderbilt on the national and international stage.

Her accomplishments as center director have been substantive and numerous, and include longstanding efforts to promote the optimal conduct of genomics research and integration of genomics into clinical care. She has played a pivotal role in the development of BioVU and Vanderbilt’s world-leading program in personalized medicine.

As a distinguished senior faculty member, she will continue to play a leadership role with the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, including membership on its leadership Council and chairing widely-acclaimed consensus panels, such as the recent report on vaccine safety in children. Dr. Clayton has been a principal driver of Vanderbilt’s “One University” vision, and I am deeply grateful for her leadership as she continues to nurture collaboration and identify new opportunities for interdisciplinary scholarship throughout the Vanderbilt campus.


Jeff Balser, M.D, Ph.D.

Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine