The 27th Henry Hardy Lecture in Bioethics and Public Policy

Loosing the Bonds: Moral Imagination and Political Success in Health Care

Robert K. Massie

Thursday, September 28, 2017
8:00 AM
Sherman Auditorium, East Campus, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue Boston, Massachusetts 02215

Robert K. Massie

Co-sponsored by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School

This lecture provides one CME Credit for Physicians.




Robert Kinloch "Bob" Massie IV is an Episcopal minister, scholar, author, and activist known for his successful global leadership on corporate accountability, social justice, climate change, and health as a human right. 

His extensive personal experience as a patient has provided him with firsthand understanding of both the life-saving power of modern medical science, and the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. health care system, including its potentially devastating costs.  Born with classic Factor VIII hemophilia, his early life was shaped by severe complications of that illness, including regular bleeding joints, spending much of his youth in a wheelchair.  When he remained healthy despite a 1984 diagnosis of blood product-related HIV, in 1994 he was found to be one of the first documented “elite controllers”, whose immune system had successfully suppressed the virus.  But by 2002 he was forced to retire from active work because of advanced cirrhosis from transfusion-acquired Hepatitis C.  In 2009 a liver transplant returned him to health and cured his hemophilia, since his new liver produced his previously-missing clotting proteins.

After graduating from Princeton, Massie received his Master of Divinity degree from Yale in 1982 and was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1983.  He received a Doctorate in Business Administration from Harvard in 1989, writing his dissertation on how large institutions balance organizational objectives with perceived moral obligations. During this period he served on the Ethics Advisory Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital.  After studying the history of race relations and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa as a Fulbright scholar, his 1997 book Loosing The Bonds: The United States and South Africa in the Apartheid Years won the Lionel Gelber Prize for the Best Book on International Relations.

From 1996 to 2003 Massie served as the executive director of Ceres, the largest coalition of environmental groups and institutional investors in the United States.  In 1998, in partnership with the United Nations and major U.S. foundations, he co-founded and chaired the Global Reporting Initiative, which produces the world's most trusted and widely used standards for sustainability reporting, the GRI Standards, transforming corporations’ approach to sustainability, integrating environmental and social concerns directly into their operating and financial models.  More than two thousand major corporations and institutional investor groups now voluntarily participate in the GRI corporate disclosure standards. In 2002, Massie was named one of the 100 most influential people in the field of finance by CFO Magazine. His autobiography, A Song in the Night: A Memoir of Resilience, was published in 2012.   

Organizing Committee

Regis A. de Silva, M.D., MPA, Chair
Mr. Peter Macaulay
Ronald Silvestri, M.D.
Lachlan Forrow, M.D
Mark L. Zeidel, M.D.
Robert Truog, MD., Ex-officio
Christine Mitchell, RN, MS, MTS, Ex-officio

About the Henry Hardy Lecture in Bioethics and Public Policy

The Henry Hardy Lecture in Bioethics and Public Policy, held annually at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, brings experts in bioethics, health care, science, business, law, and/or policy, to discuss current issues of interest to physicians, nurses, other health care providers and trainees, as well as administrators.

The annual lectureship was founded in 1989 by Regis De Silva MD, MPA, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Attending Physician in Cardiology at BIDMC, in collaboration with the then newly formed Division of Medical Ethics at HMS, now the Center for Bioethics. Funding was provided by an international businessman and former patient, Henry Hardy. The purpose of the lecture is to address an ongoing question: how to correlate clinical practice with a particular social, legal, cultural, economic issue or problem in how care is delivered and to suggest remedies. The lectureship has become part of the hospital’s medical grand rounds and is attended by professional staff, faculty, and trainees from the Medical Center, the Center for Bioethics and the Medical School.

Previous speakers

Robert Kinloch "Bob" Massie IV, M.Div, D.B.A.
Ceres Executive Director, Global Reporting Initiative co-founder

Aaron S. Kesselheim, M.D., J.D., M.P.H
Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School,
Faculty member in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Clayton Christensen, DBA
Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration
Harvard Business School

John E. McDonough, Dr.P.H., M.P.A.
Harvard School of Public Health

Lincoln Chen, MD
President, Chine Medical Board

Julio Frenk, MD
Harvard School of Public Health

Myron E. Essex, DVM, Ph.D.
Harvard School of Public Health

Esther Duflo, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Arthur Kleinman, M.D.
Harvard University

James Roosevelt, Jr.
Tufts Health Plan

Theodore R. Marmor, Ph.D.
Yale University

Charles Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Harvard University

Daniel D. Federman, M.D.
Harvard Medical School

Christopher Murray, M.D., D.Phil.
Harvard University

Helen Mountfield
Matrix Law Chambers, London, UK

Margaret Somerville, J.D.
McGill University, Montreal

Aaron Lazare, M.D.
University of Massachusetts

Bernard Lown, M.D.
Harvard School of Public Health

Richard Lewontin
Harvard University

Linda Emanuel, M.D.
American Medical Association

Leon Eisenberg, M.D.
Harvard Medical School

1996 P. J. van der Maas, M.D. Erasmus University, Rotterdam

Drummond Rennie, M.D.

John R. Ball, M.D.
American College of Physicians

Alexander M. Capron, LL.B.
University of California

Jerome Kassirer, M.D.
New England Journal of Medicine

Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D.
Georgetown University