The Association of Bioethics Program Directors was officially established as a 501‐C‐3 organization under the leadership of the Association’s founding president, Jeff Kahn, in 2007. The organization emerged following a 2005 workshop funded by the Greenwall Foundation and organized at the University of Minnesota for leaders of academic Bioethics programs across the US and Canada. Among the outcomes of the workshop was the decision to launch the Association and to request a meeting of leaders in academic Bioethics with Elias Zerhouni, the NIH Director at the time, to discuss how the NIH investment in Bioethics research could be deepened and strengthened. This has evolved into an ongoing series of discussions between the leadership of the ABPD and the current NIH director and his senior staff.
The ABPD has grown and currently includes the directors of approximately 70 US and Canadian Bioethics programs. The ABPD holds meetings every April and October to discuss issues of importance to the members, including concerns and experiences in leading Bioethics programs, review and assess best practices for faculty advancement, development, and other program‐related topics, and launch periodic surveys of members about organizational structure, salaries, and other information the members consider useful.
In 2008, the organization issued a white paper about the assessment of faculty for promotion and tenure; this report is available on the ABPD website. In 2012, under the leadership of then‐president David Magnus, ABPD developed a vision, mission, and strategic plan, which the Association is in the process of implementing. Our vision: The ABPD‐‐Voice of Bioethics for the 21st Century. Today, the organization is focused on addressing current issues the field of bioethics is facing, such as research funding, training standards in clinical ethics, and cataloguing graduate education opportunities in bioethics.