Ruth B. Purtilo, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Dr. Purtilo is Professor Emerita in Interprofessional Studies at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions where she has served in several capacities, the most recent being four years as the Director of the Ethics Initiative. In 2007-2008 she spent one year as a Donoghue Endowed Visiting Professor at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics at Yale University. She is a Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Patient Care, Yvonne L Munn Center for Nursing Research, Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Purtilo holds five honorary degrees for her work in ethics. In 1991 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Harvard Divinity School. In 1983 she was awarded the Nellie Westerman Prize by the American Federation for Clinical Research for her article predicting major ethical and social issues that the (then) new disease called AIDS would create. She is a Catherine Worthingham Fellow and McMillan Scholar of the American Physical Therapy Association. She has been an awardee of two National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Scholars summer institute awards and was a recipient of two Greenwall Foundation grants to study moral courage among South African professionals during the Apartheid years and for an international initiative on ethical foundations of palliative care in Alzheimer Disease. Dr. Purtilo is the author of six books and more than 100 articles. Among her books are Health Professional-Patient Interaction (6th to 8th eds co-authored with Amy Haddad ) and Ethical Dimensions in the Health Professions (5th and 6th eds (in preparation) co-authored with Regina Doherty). She is co editor (with Gail Jensen and Charlotte Royeen) of Educating for Moral Action: A Sourcebook in Health and Rehabilitation Ethics and co-editor (with Henk ten Have) of Ethical Foundations of Palliative Care for Alzheimer Disease. She served as an area editor for the Encyclopedia of Bioethics, rev. ed. Dr. Purtilo’s primary research interests include rehabilitation ethics; interprofessional health care teams; and ethical issues in health care systems reform. In recent years her focus has turned to characteristics that support humane practices such as moral courage and the dynamics of caring relationships.

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