Patrick Smith

Duke Divinity School Professor Patrick T. Smith, Ph.D., has received the 2019 Paul Ramsey Award for Excellence from the national Center for Bioethics and Culture for demonstrating exemplary achievement in the field of bioethics.

This is the second year in a row that a Duke Divinity faculty member has received the prestigious award. Farr Curlin, M.D., professor of medical humanities at the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine at Duke University and co-director of the Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative at Duke Divinity, received the 2018 award.

Smith, an associate research professor of theological ethics and bioethics at Duke Divinity, and a senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, joined the faculty in July. Along with his appointment at the Divinity School and affiliation with its Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative, Professor Smith is associate faculty with the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine.

The Paul Ramsey Award honors those who have made an outstanding contribution to the bioethics discussion and are actively engaged in society—facing the challenges of the 21st century, profoundly defending the dignity of humankind, and enthusiastically embracing ethical biotechnology for the human good. Paul Ramsey is regarded by many as one of the most important ethicists of the 20th century.

 “Trained both as a philosopher and as a theologian within the black Baptist tradition, Patrick Smith integrates both kinds of expertise in a way that Paul Ramsey would surely have appreciated,” said Gilbert Meilaender, Ph.D., of the Paul Ramsey Award Nominating Committee about the selection. “Focusing especially on end-of-life issues and hospice care, Patrick has helped us reflect upon issues that are of academic importance but also reach well beyond the academy. They touch all our lives.”

Before coming to Duke, Professor Smith held academic appointments as an associate professor of philosophical theology and ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and lecturer at Harvard Medical School through the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. Professor Smith was core faculty for the Master of Bioethics degree program offered through Harvard’s Center for Bioethics. He also serves on the board of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.