John G. Carney appointed President/CEO of the Center for Practical Bioethics


John CarneyThe Center for Practical Bioethics has announced John G. Carney will assume leadership of the Center by January 1, 2012. He replaces the Center’s founding executive, Myra Christopher, as president and chief executive officer.

Carney is a well-known advocate for patients, families and caregivers dealing with chronic and progressive disease.

Continuing the legacy of the Center and serving as successor to the nations first lady of bioethics is both an honor and a challenge, says Carney. Myra and I share a decades long conviction about how critical bioethics is to every patient in this country. Bioethics is not an ivory tower enterprise. It is hard work; simultaneously scary and sacred.

Christopher will continue with the Center as the Kathleen M. Foley Chair for Pain and Palliative Care.

Christopher informed the Centers board of directors in July 2010 of her desire to step down at the end of 2011 from the CEO role. In November 2010 a task force was formed to conduct a national search for a new CEO. The task force was composed of current and past Center board members and other community leaders. The group was led by past board chair James M. Beck and was advised by national leaders in bioethics.

The board undertook the task of finding the next leader of the Center with great care, says Cynthia Spaeth, chair of the Centers Board of Directors. We are all delighted that John Carney will be that leader and build on the incredible legacy of Myra Christopher.

Myra ChristopherThere is no one I would be more confident in entrusting the Center to than John Carney, Christopher says. I am excited about working with John and about my new role at the Center.  I think about this opportunity to focus my energy on pain and palliative care as the Kathleen Foley Chair as an incredible gift.

Carney comes to the Center from Crossroads Hospice of Kansas LLC, where he served as the executive director during its inaugural year. Previous to that position Carney was the Centers vice president for aging and end of life from mid-2004 to the end of 2010.

Carney has two decades of hospice, palliative care and healthcare management experience and holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Newman University (Wichita, KS) and a masters in counseling from Wichita State University. He has served in executive leadership positions in both professional and volunteer organizations at the local provider, state and national associations levels, most notably in the hospice and palliative care field.

Prior to his return to the Midwest he spent time in the nations capital in leadership positions with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Americas Health Insurance Plans. In the early 1990s, Carney helped launch the LIFE Project in Kansas, a statewide effort to build citizen and community awareness on end of life and aging issues.

Spaeth says Carney brings not only outstanding personal attributes and professional experience, but also a vision for the Center’s future and a distinguished record of working with the Center over many years.

We welcome him as the new leader and look forward to working with him to build on the Centers unparalleled record that Myra Christopher built over 27 years, Spaeth says.

Today the Center is the go-to place for practical bioethics in the nation. It is a wonderful circumstance that Myra Christopher is continuing her program work as the Kathleen M. Foley Chair at the Center. We are pleased with how this has come together and excited about the future.

Carney says his work will be the work of the Center, with genuine exploration of the knotty and confounding healthcare issues of our time. The issues that divide us are pretty clear, he says. What we need to discover are the things that bind us together, and once bound, make us whole.

The Center for Practical Bioethics is a nonprofit, free-standing and independent organization nationally recognized for its work in practical bioethics. Since 1984, the Center has helped patients and their families, healthcare professionals, policymakers and corporate leaders grapple with ethically complex issues in medicine and research.