Alexander Ming Fisher Lecture

The Alexander Ming Fisher Memorial Lecture on Death and Dying was established in the early 1970s by E. Douglas Southwick to commemorate the life of Alexander Ming Fisher, MD, a graduate of Columbia University, and institute a yearly lecture series on the topics of death and dying. Since 1974, Alexander Ming Fisher lecturers have explored a wide variety of issues, including family care in terminal illness, death and public policy, the impact of AIDS on the practice of medicine, physician-assisted suicide, Medicare and terminal illness, and genetic engineering and the prolonging of life.  

Most Recent Alexander Ming Fisher Lecture


Past Alexander Ming Fisher Lecturers

2023 – Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD, MA, Director and Professor, Division of Nursing Research and Education, Department of Population Sciences, City of Hope

2021 – Monica L. Lypson, MD, MHPE, Rolf H. Scholdager Professor of Medicine at CUMC; Vice Dean for Education, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons 

2020 – Tait Shanafelt, MD, Jeanie & Stewart Ritchie Professor of Medicine; Chief Wellness Officer, Stanford Medicine; Associate Dean, Stanford School of Medicine

2019 – Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, The Dalio Professor in Mood Disorders; professor of psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

2018 – Arthur Kleinman, MD, Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University; professor of medical anthropology in social medicine and psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

2017 – Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, DPhil, assistant professor of medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC)

2015 – Craig Spencer, MD, MPH, director of global health in emergency medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (NYP)/CUIMC; assistant professor of medicine, CUIMC

2014 – Robert D. Truog, MD, Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics, Anesthesia, and Pediatrics and director of the Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School; executive director, Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice; senior associate in critical care medicine, Boston Children's Hospital

2013 – Diane Meier, MD, vice chair of public policy and professor, Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute and the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine; the Catherine Gaisman Professor of Medical Ethics; and director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

2011 – Jimmie C. Holland, MD, Wayne E. Chapman Chair in Psychiatric Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

2010 – Craig Blinderman, MD, assistant professor of palliative care in anesthesiology and medicine and director of adult palliative medicine, CUIMC

2010 – Robert Pardi Jr., Dr. Desiree Pardi's husband, cofounder and COO, Evolvence Capital

2010 – Betty Lim, MD, assistant professor, Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; director of the Samuels Palliative Care Project, Jewish Home Lifecare, New York City

2009 – David Rieff, journalist and author

2008 – Brigadier General Loree K. Sutton, MD, director, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury

2007 – Thomas H. Murray, PhD, president, The Hastings Center

2006 – Joan Didion is the author of five novels, Run River, Play It as It Lays, A Book of Common Prayer, Democracy, and The Last Thing He Wanted, and eight books of nonfiction, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Salvador, Miami, After Henry, Political Fictions, Where I Was From, and The Year of Magical Thinking. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2005 she was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal in Criticism and Belles Lettres, and also the National Book Award in Nonfiction

2005 – Kathleen M. Foley, MD, attending neurologist, Pain and Palliative Care Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; professor of neurology, neuroscience, and clinical pharmacology, Cornell University Medical College; medical director of the International Palliative Care Initiative, Open Society Institute

2004 – Arthur Caplan, PhD, director of the Center for Bioethics and the Emanuel and Robert Hart Chair of Bioethics, Department of Medical Ethics, University of Pennsylvania

2003 – James Q. Wilson, PhD, Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University; James Collins Professor Emeritus of Management and Public Policy, UCLA

2001 – Nancy S. Wexler, MD, Higgins Professor of Neuropsychology, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University

2000 – Neil Gillman, PhD, Aaron Rabinowitz & Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Jewish Philosophy, Jewish Theological Seminary of America

1998 – Joanne Lynn, MD, director of the Center to Improve the Care of the Dying; professor of health care science, George Washington University School of Medicine

1997 – Bruce C. Vladeck, PhD, professor of health policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

1996 – Daniel Callahan, PhD, director of international programs, The Hastings Center

1995 – Sherwin B. Nuland, MD, clinical professor of surgery, Yale University

1994 – George Soros, founder and chair, the Soros Foundation

1993 – Christine K. Cassel, MD, FACP, professor of medicine and public policy studies, chief of the Section of General Internal Medicine, University of Chicago Medical Center

1992 – H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., MD, PhD, professor of medicine and philosophy, Center for Ethics, Medicine, and Public Issues, Baylor College of Medicine

1991 – Kenneth Ryan, MD, professor and chair, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital

1990 – Rabbi Moses Tendler, Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Professor of Medical Ethics, Yeshiva University

1989 – Edwin Cassem, MD, acting chair, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital

1988 – Samuel O. Thier, president, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences

1987 – Merle Sande, MD, professor of medicine, University of California at San Francisco; chief of medical service, San Francisco General Hospital

1986 – Rev. John Parris, professor of social ethics, Holy Cross College; adjunct professor of medicine, University of Massachusetts

1985 – Ida M. Martinson, RN, PhD, Health Care Nursing, School of Nursing, University of California at San Francisco

1984 – Francis D. Moore, MD, Mosely Professor Emeritus of Surgery, Harvard University

1983 – Robert Jay Lifton, MD, Foundation's Fund Research Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University

1981 – Alexander M. Capron, LLB, executive director, President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research

1980 – Raymond S. Duff, MD, professor of pediatrics, Yale University

1979 – Leon Kass, MD, Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Biology, University of Chicago

1978 – Edwin Shneidman, PhD, professor of thanatology, Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California at Los Angeles

1977 – Robert Kastenbaum, PhD, professor of psychology, University of Massachusetts

1976 – Jeanne Quint Benoliel, RD, DNSc, professor and chair, University of Washington School of Nursing

1975 – Colin Murray Parkes, MD, Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, London

1974 – Cicely Saunders, OBE, MRCP, medical director, St. Christopher's Hospice, London

Photos from past Alexander Ming Fisher Lectures

CUIMC Faculty, staff and students with current CUIMC email accounts: you can access the photo album via Microsoft Office 365 OneDrive

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