Human Choice in a Hyper-Technological Age:
How we can keep our wits about us in the world of medicine and beyond

The 2019 Gay Lecture will be delivered by Danielle Allen
November 21, 2019 at 5 p.m.


Register Here. Location details included with email registration, space is limited.

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014), Education and Equality (2016), and Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. (2017). She is the coeditor of the award-winning Education, Justice, and Democracy (2013, with Rob Reich) and From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age (2015, with Jennifer Light). She is a former chair of the Mellon Foundation Board, past chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Allen is also the principal investigator for the Democratic Knowledge Project, a distributed research and action lab at Harvard University. The Democratic Knowledge Project seeks to identify, strengthen, and disseminate the bodies of knowledge, skills, and capacities that democratic citizens need in order to succeed at operating their democracy. The lab currently has three projects underway: the Declaration Resources Project, the Humanities and Liberal Arts Assessment Project (HULA), and the Youth and Participatory Politics Action and Reflection Frame.

The George W. Gay Lecture is the oldest endowed lectureship at Harvard Medical School, and quite possibly the oldest medical ethics lectureship in the United States. The lectureship was established in 1917 by a $1,000 gift from Dr. George Washington Gay, an 1868 graduate of HMS. Gay gave Harvard the fund to provide an annual income to support lectures “to the advanced, or graduating classes in the Medical School upon Medical Ethics, and upon wise and proper methods of conducting the business of physicians, as relates to fees, collections, investments, etc.” The Gay Lectureship perpetuates his deep concern for the welfare of his patients and his appreciation of the constantly arising social and economic forces that impinge on medical care.

Since its inception, many of the nation's most influential physicians, scientists, researchers and social observers, have given the annual lecture. Past lecturers include Erich Fromm, Felix Frankfurter, Margaret Mead, Elizabeth Kübler Ross, E.O. Wilson, and Joshua Lederberg have given the Gay Lecture. Elie Wiesel, Marian Wright Edelman, Paul Krugman, Nicholas Kristof, and Donald Berwick.


See details and photos from the 2018 Gay Lecture delivered by K. Anthony Appiah.

See details and photos from the 2017 Gay Lecture delivered by Michael Sandel.


Past George W. Gay Lecturers

1922
Dr. John Bapst Blake, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard University
1923
Dr. George W. Gay
1924
Dr. Walter P. Bowers, Managing Editor, Boston Medical and Surgical Journal
1926
Dr. George G. Sears, Clinical Prof. of Medicine, Emeritus, Harvard University
1927
Dr. Francis Weld Peabody, Professor of Medicine, Harvard University
1930
Dr. Samuel B. Woodward, past President, Massachusetts Medical Society
1931
Dr. John M. Birnie, Secretary, New England Medical Society
1932
Dr. Roger I. Lee, Professor of Hygiene, Harvard University
1933
Dr. Robert B. Osgood, Professor Orthopedic Surgery, Harvard University
Dr. Elliott P. Joslin, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard University
1934
Dr. Arthur H. Ruggles, Superintendent, Butler Hospital, Providence, RI
Dr. John Homans, Clinical Professor of Surgery, Harvard University
Dr. Joseph H. Pratt, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Tufts College
1935
Dr. James B. Herrick, Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, Rush Medical College
1937
Dr. Lawrence K. Lunt, Psychiatrist (Boston, Massachusetts)
Dr. O.H. Perry Pepper, Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
1938
Mr. Henry L. Shattuck, Treasurer, Harvard University
Dr. Reginald Fitz, Lecturer on The History of Medicine, Harvard University
Dr. Elton Mayo, Professor of Industrial Research, Harvard University
1939
Dr. Eliot Wadsworth, President, Boston Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Robert L. DeNormandie, Comm. on Ethics & Discipline, Mass. Med. Soc.
Dr. Donald Guthrie, Assoc. Prof. of Surgery, Univ. of Penn. School of Med.
1940
Mr. Phillips Ketchum, Partner, Herrick, Smith, Donald, Farley & Ketchum
1941
Dr. Charles R. Austrian, Assoc. Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Univ.
Dr. David Cheever, Associate Professor of Surgery, Emeritus, Harvard Univ.
Dr. T. Grier Miller, Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
1945
Mr. Ben Amers Williams, Author
1954
Dr. Hugh J. Morgan, Professor of Medicine, Vanderbilt University
1955
The Rev. George A. Buttrick, Professor of Christian Morals, Harvard Univ.
1956
The Rev. Douglas Horton, Professor of Theology, Harvard University
1957
Dr. Erich Fromm, Professor of Psychoanalysis, National University of Mexico
1958
The Honorable Felix Frankfurter, Associate Justice, US Supreme Court
1959
Dr. James Howard Means, Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, Harvard University
1960
Dr. Margaret Mead, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
1961
Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche, Under Secretary for Special Political Affairs, U.N.
1962
Mr. Erik Erikson, Prof. of Human Development, Lecturer Psych., Harvard Univ.
1963
Dr. Herman Ludwig Blumgart, Prof. of Medicine, Emeritus, Harvard University
1965
Dr. Paul Freund, Carl M. Loeb University Professor, Harvard University
1970
Dr. I Bernard Cohen, Professor of The History of Science, Harvard University
1973
Dr. Elizabeth Kübler Ross, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Univ. of Chicago
1976
Dr. Robert J. Lifton, Foundations Fund of Research, Yale University
1977
Dr. Franz J. Ingelfinger, Editor, New England Journal of Medicine
1978
Dr. Kenneth J. Ryan, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Univ.
1979
Dr. Carleton B. Chapman, President, The Commonwealth Fund
1980
Dr. Edward O. Wilson, Professor of Science, Harvard University
1981
Arnold S. Relman, M.D., Prof. of Medicine, HMS; Editor, NEJM
1982
The Rev. Robert F. Drinan, SJ, U.S. Congress; Georgetown Univ. Law Ctr.
1983
Joshua Lederberg, Ph.D., President, The Rockefeller University
1984
Uwe E. Reinhardt, Ph.D., Prof. Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton Univ.
1985
Dr. Julian Tudor Hart, Glyncorrwg Health Center, West Galmorgan, Wales
1986
Baroness Mary Warnock, Mistress, Girton College, Cambridge, England
1987
Dennis Thompson, Ph.D., Dir. Pgm. in Ethics and Professions, Harvard Univ.
1988
Albert Jonsen, Ph.D., Chair, Medical History and Ethics, Univ. of Washington
1991
Arnold S. Relman, M.D., Prof. of Medicine, HMS; Editor, NEJM
1992
Larry R. Churchill, Chair, Social Medicine, Univ. N. Carolina School of Med.
1993
Bernadine Healy, M.D., Director, National Institutes of Health
1994
Robert Lawrence, M.D., Director, Health Sciences, Rockefeller Foundation
1995
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Ph.D. Chair, Afro-American Studies Dept., Harvard Univ.
1996
Sissela Bok, Ph.D., Fellow, Harvard Center for Population and Development
1997
Daniel Callahan, Ph.D., Founder, The Hastings Center
1998
Daniel D. Federman, M.D., Dean for Medical Education, Harvard Medical School
1998
Elie Wiesel, Mellon Professor of The Humanities, Boston University
1999
Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President, The Children’s Defense Fund
2001
Dame Cicely Saunders, St. Christopher’s Hospice, London
2002
Rashi Fein, Ph.D., Professor of The Economics of Medicine, Emeritus, HMS
2004
Howard Gardner, Ph.D., Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
2005
Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., Editor-in-Chief, Emeritus, New England Journal of Medicine
2006
Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder, Partners in Health
2008
Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., President of the Institute of Medicine
2009
Paul R. Krugman, Ph.D., Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Princeton University
2010
Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times op-ed columnist, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner
2012
Donald M. Berwick, M.D., M.P.P., F.R.C.P., Former Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
2013
Dan W. Brock, Ph.D., Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics, HMS
2014
Cass R. Sunstein, JD, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard Law School
2015
2016
Martha Minnow, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
2017
Michael Sandel, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government Theory, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University
2018