Robert Baker, PhD

Founding Director (Emeritus)
and Professor of Bioethics
The Bioethics Program and

William D. Williams Professor of Philosophy,
Union College

History of Medical Ethics/Bioethics
Professionalism/Codes of Ethics
International Bioethics/Human Rights
Bioethics Theory

Robert Baker, PhD is William D. Williams Professor of Philosophy at Union College, and Director of Union’s Rapaport Ethics Across the Curriculum initiative. He is also Professor of Bioethics and Founding Director of the Union Graduate College-Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Bioethics Program.

Baker earned his BA with Honors in History from the City College of New York, his Ph. D. in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Albany Medical College. A four-time National Endowment for the Humanities awardee, Baker is founding chair of the Affinity Group on the History of Medical Ethics of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. He has authored, co-authored, edited or co-edited numerous books, scholarly articles and reports including the American Medical Ethics Revolution (Johns Hopkins University Press 1999), and The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics (Cambridge University Press 2009). Both books were awarded a citation by Choice, the journal of academic libraries, as “outstanding book in the health sciences” for their respective years. He also co-authored a 2008 report on African American physicians, published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association that prompted the board of the American Medical Association to apologize publicly for its past treatment of African American physicians. Baker was founding co-project director and is on the faculty of a 12-year project funded by the Fogarty Center of the National Institutes of Health that uses e-education methods to train research ethicists in Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union. He also serves on the editorial board of Bioethics, the journal of the International Association of Bioethics. His most recent book is Before Bioethics: A History of American Medical Ethics from the Colonial Period to the Bioethics Revolution (Oxford University Press 2013).

Curriculum Vitae >
Biosketch >
Autobiography >

Recent Publications

Baker, Robert. 2013. Before Bioethics: A History of American Medical Ethics from the Colonial Period to the Bioethics Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press.

Baker Robert and McCullough, Laurence. 2009. 
The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics, (ed. w. L. McCullough)    New York: Cambridge University Press (Reviews: JAMA, December 2, 2009). 17 (1): 3-22.

Baker, R., Washington, H., Olakanmi, O., et al.2009. 
Tcreating a Segregated Medical Profession: African American Physicians and Organized Medicine,1846-1910 Journal of the National Medical Association, 101 (6) June, 501-512

Baker, R., Washington, H., Olkanmi, O., Savitt,T., Jacobs, E., Hoover, E., Wynia, M.,2008 African American Physicians and Organized Medicine, 1846-1968, Origins of a Racial Divide" JAMA:Journal of The American medical Association, vol. 300,No. 3., pp. 306-313

Baker, R., 2009  In Defense of Bioethics 
Journal of Law Medicine and Ethics , 37 (1)  Februaury, pp 83-92

Baker, R., 2009  Conscience and the Unconcsionable  
Bioethics, 23 (5), pp. ii-iv.

Baker, Robert and McCullough, Laurence. 2007. 
Medical Ethics’ Appropriation of Moral Philosophy: 
The Case of the Sympathetic and Unsympathetic Physician.
Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. 17 (1): 3-22. - DOWNLOAD PDF > 

Baker, Robert. 2006. 
Medical Ethics and Epidemics. In Ethics and Epidemics 
Ed. John Balint, Sean Philpott, Robert Baker, and Martin Strosberg, pp. 93-134.
Amsterdam, Elsevier.

Baker, Robert. 2005. 
Getting Agreement: How Bioethics Got Started. 
The Hastings Center Report. 35 (3), 50-51. - DOWNLOAD PDF > 

Baker, Robert. 2005. 
A Draft Model Aggregated Code of Ethics for Bioethicists

American Journal of Bioethics5 (5), 33-41. - VIEW ARTICLE >

Baker, Robert. 2005. 
International Bioethics and Human Rights: 
Reflections on A Proposed Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. 

Politics and Ethics Review 1 (2), 188-196. 

Recent Activities

Co-chair ASBH Affinity Group Meeting, History of Medical Ethics, 15th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities, 26 October 2013.

“The Declaration of Helsinki and the Foundations of Global Bioethics,” presented at Research Within Bounds: Protecting Human Participants in Modern Medicine and the Declaration of Helsinki: 1964-2014. Brocher Foundation: Switzerland, Sept. 12-13, 2014, presented 13 Sept.

“Does Bioethics Have A Future?” 11th World Congress of Bioethics, International Association of Bioethics, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, June 29, 2012. 

Past Chair, ASBH/ Assoc. of Bioethics Program Directors Task Force on Accreditation of Bioethics Training Programs.

AMA Writing Group on African Americans and Organized Medicine(with Elizabeth Jacobs, Ololade Olakanami, Todd Savitt, Harriett Washington, and Matt Wynia).

 ASBH Advisory Committee on Ethics Standards (ACES): See various communications and reports including Baker, Robert; Kipnis, Kenneth; Pearlman, Robert and Taylor, Holly. 2006. Report and Recommendations of the ASBH Advisory Committee on Ethics Standards (ACES) - WWW.ASBH.ORG > 

Rapaport Ethics Across the Curriculum Initiative, Union College: donor funded three-year educational reform initiative that will introduce 50 ethics segments in non-philosophy courses at Union College - ETHICS.UNION.EDU >

Ethics During Epidemics, Bio-terrorism and Natural Disasters. Panel: Robert Baker (Chair), Dan Brock, Ezekiel Emanuel, and David Perlman. 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Philosophical Association, Washington DC, December 29, 2006.

Project Director: 
NIH Fogarty Training Grant E-Education in Research Ethics: 
Central and Eastern Europe
. Four year training grant offering Advanced Certificates in Research Ethics via on-line education to develop research ethics infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe, including countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. - WWW.RESEARCHETHICSEUROPE.COM >

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