Paul Ramsey Award Committee
C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., Chair
William Hurlbut, M.D.
Jennifer Lahl, R.N., M.A.
Gilbert C. Meilaender, Ph.D.
Wesley J. Smith, J.D.
Chairman C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., Chair, is Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, and adjunct professor of ethics and contemporary culture at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Previously he served as associate professor of bioethics and contemporary culture at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. He has also taught Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and directed the Clarence Jordan Center there. Mitchell is editor of Ethics and Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics, and serves as bioethics consultant for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the moral concerns, public policy, and religious liberty agency of the Southern Baptist Convention with offices in Nashville, Tennessee and Washington, DC.
Dr. Mitchell received the Ph.D. degree in philosophy with a concentration in medical ethics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His dissertation was entitled: Patenting Life: An Examination of Some Ethical Implications of Biopatents. He is also a graduate of Mississippi State University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. During the Spring of 2001 he was visiting scholar at Green College, the medical college at Oxford University.
He has done clinical ethics rotations at a number of institutions including the University of Tennessee Medical Center, the East Tennessee Mental Health Institute, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center and has completed the intensive in genetics for non-scientists at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories.
He has written widely in bioethics and publishes regularly in professional journals and the popular press. He has served as a peer reviewer for the Journal of the American Medical Association. Futhermore, he is general editor of the New International Dictionary of Bioethics published by Paternoster Press in 2002. In addition, he is a Fellow of the Wilberforce Forum, Prison Fellowship’s research arm located in Reston, Virginia, and is a Fellow of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also on the Board of Advisors for the University Faculty for Life at Georgetown University, Washington, DC.
He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, has given testimony to several committees of Congress, and is often cited by the national press.
His areas of special interest include end-of-life decision making, the ethical implications of the new genetics, and the ethics of biotechnology
William Hurlbut, M.D., is a physician and Consulting Professor at the Neuroscience Institute, Stanford University. After receiving his undergraduate and medical training at Stanford, he completed post doctoral studies in Theology and Medical Ethics, first studying under Robert Hamerton-Kelly, the dean of the chapel at Stanford and subsequently with Rev. Louis Bouyer of Paris. In addition to teaching at Stanford, he served for eight years on the President’s Council on Bioethics.
Dr. Hurlbut’s main areas of interest involve the ethical issues associated with advancing technology and the integration of philosophy of biology with Christian theology. He has co-taught courses with Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Director of the Human Genome Diversity Project and Baruch Blumberg who received the Nobel Prize for discovery of the Hepatitis B Virus. Most recently, he has worked with the Center for International Security and Cooperation on a project formulating policy on Chemical and Biological Warfare and with NASA on projects in astrobiology.
Jennifer Lahl, R.N., M.A., is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and in senior-level nursing management with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBC, PBS, and NPR, and called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address egg trafficking. She serves on the North American Editorial Board for Ethics and Medicine and the Board of Reference for Joni Eareckson Tada’s Institute on Disability. In 2009, Lahl was associate producer of the documentary film, Lines That Divide: The Great Stem Cell Debate, which was an official selection in the 2010 California Independent Film Festival. She made her writing and directing debut, producing the documentary film, Eggsploitation, which has been awarded Best Documentary by the California Independent Film Festival, has sold in over 20 countries, and is showing all over the U.S.
Gilbert C. Meilaender, Ph.D., is Professor of Theology at Valparaiso University. Before coming to Valparaiso in 1996, Dr. Meilaender taught at the University of Virginia (1976-78) and at Oberlin College (1978-96). He has served on the Editorial Board and as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Religious Ethics, as an Associate Editor for Religious Studies Review, on the Editorial Board of the Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics, and on the Editorial Advisory Board of First Things. His published work falls generally into the area of religious ethics. Most recently he has edited (together with William Werpehowski) The Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics (2005) and authored Neither Beast Nor God: The Dignity of the Human Person (2009). Dr. Meilaender has special interest in bioethics, is a Fellow of the Hastings Center, and served as a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics since its inception in January, 2002.
Wesley J. Smith, J.D. is a CBC Special Consultant, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, and an attorney and consultant for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. He is an international lecturer and public speaker, appearing frequently at political, university, medical, legal, bioethics, and community gatherings across the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. Wesley J Smith’s writing and opinion columns have appeared in such national and regional news publications as Newsweek, the New York Times, the Weekly Standard magazine, National Review, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Post, First Things, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Detroit News.