Daniel P. Sulmasy

Kilbride-Clinton Professor of Medicine and Ethics in the Department of Medicine and Divinity School; Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics in the Department of Medicine; Director, Program on Medicine and Religion




MD (Cornell University)
PhD (Georgetown University)

Dr. Sulmasy is an internist and an ethicist. His research interests encompass both theoretical and empirical investigations of the ethics of end-of-life decision-making, ethics education, and spirituality in medicine. He has done extensive work on the role of intention in medical action, especially as it relates to the rule of double effect and the distinction between killing and allowing to die. He is also interested in the philosophy of medicine and the logic of diagnostic and therapeutic reasoning. His work in spirituality is focused primarily on the spiritual dimensions of the practice of medicine. His empirical studies have explored topics such as decision-making by surrogates on behalf of patients who are nearing death, and informed consent for biomedical research.

He continues to practice medicine part-time as a member of the University faculty practice. He completed his residency, chief residency, and post-doctoral fellowship in General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has previously held faculty positions at Georgetown University and New York Medical College. He has served on numerous governmental advisory committees, and was appointed to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Problems by President Obama in April 2010.

He is the author or editor of six books – The Healer's Calling (1997), Methods in Medical Ethics (2001; 2nd ed. 2010), The Rebirth of the Clinic (2006), A Balm for Gilead (2006), Safe Passage: A Global Spiritual Sourcebook for Care at the End of Life (2013), and Francis the Leper: Faith, Medicine, Theology, and Science (2014). He also serves as editor-in-chief of the journal Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics.


Select work: 

Program on Medicine and Religion

The Program on Medicine and Religion at the University of Chicago is a leading forum for scholarship and discourse at the intersection of medicine and religion. Despite ample evidence that religion often animates clinicians’ practices and that patients’ health behaviors and experiences of illness are often mediated by faith, the relationship between medicine and religion is rarely studied. The Program on Medicine and Religion aims to fill this gap by conducting rigorous empirical, historical, theological, ethical, and legal scholarship to enrich our understanding of the meaning of illness and the myriad ways that religion and medicine each respond to the human predicaments of illness, injury, disability, suffering, and death, often in complementary and mutually reinforcing ways.

(773) 702-1453
MC-6098 5841 S. Maryland Chicago, IL 60637
Areas of study: 

Current and Upcoming Courses

Religious Ethics

RETH 45404 Ethical Issues in Care at the End of Life