Dr. Alfred Tauber donates a collection of medical ethics books to the YSM Biomedical Ethics Program


A collection of over 250 medical ethics books is now available to members of the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) community, thanks to a generous donation Alfred Tauber, MD, made at the Biomedical Ethics Program (PBE) of YSM. Tauber is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Zoltan Kohn Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Boston University (BU). The books are located in the student lounge – shared by the MD-PhD program and the Office of Student Research – on the third floor of ES Harkness Memorial Hall, in the middle of YSM’s medical education offices.

Jessica Illuzzi, MD, MS, assistant dean for education and Harold W. Jockers professor of medical education, told Tauber, “We are so honored that you have chosen to donate this personal library to us. YSM students, faculty, staff, and alumni “will greatly appreciate and benefit from the opportunity to learn from this tremendous resource,” notes Illuzzi.

Although one of Tauber’s sons graduated from YSM 25 years ago, Tauber made the decision to donate the books to the school’s PBE “on practicalities”. He says he contacted several institutions, and PBE director and professor of pediatrics, Mark Mercurio, MD, MA, showed the most interest. YSM’s program “proved to be the best option,” Tauber says, based on need and the likelihood that the books would be readily available and well used. Tauber explains, “An author develops a special relationship with his scholarly sources, so it is ‘good’ to know that others might also benefit. »

After graduating from Tufts University School of Medicine and completing residency at University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals, Tauber committed to several fellowships before becoming an instructor and then a professor at Harvard Medical School. In 1982, he joined the faculty of the BU Faculty of Medicine, and in 1993, the Department of Philosophy at BU. After beginning his career as an academic physician studying the biochemistry of the inflammatory response, Tauber transitioned to a career in the philosophy and history of biomedicine, with an emphasis on the development of immunology, in his early 40s .

“As part of my reorientation,” says Tauber, “I reflected on the doctor-patient relationship and focused on how this fundamental issue had been strained since forming my ideals at the school of medicine.” He developed this theme and response to the new challenges of the 21st clinical care of the century in two books— Confessions of a Healer (MIT 1999) and patient autonomy and the ethics of responsibility (MIT 2005) — and a series of articles. Most of the books he donated to the PBE deal with these issues.

“It was exciting to sort through the collection and see the contents,” says Mercurio, who is grateful to Tauber for choosing the YSM PBE as the recipient. Mercurio adds that the PBE has placed a label inside the cover of each book, indicating that the book is part of the donated collection “of the library of Professor Alfred I. Tauber, MD”, to acknowledge the generous gift of Tauber.


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