2023 Beecher Prize in Ethics Teaching Winner

During the Fall Welcome Event earlier this week, director Rebecca Brendel, MD, JD, and associate director Edward Hundert, MD awarded the 2023 Henry K. Beecher Prize for Ethics Teaching to Anthony Charles Breu, MD in recognition of outstanding excellence in ethics teaching at Harvard Medical School. The Center for Bioethics usually gives two separate Beecher teaching awards – one for medical student teaching and one for masters student teaching – but Dr. Breu's exceptional work earned him this combined award.

"This faculty member has gone beyond the classroom to serve in leadership roles in course development and oversight, curriculum development and review, and pedagogical innovation. We are all beneficiaries of this work," said Dr. Brendel during the reception, before sharing quotes from Master of Science in Bioethics (MBE) students. Some of the statements included:

  • "He created an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity and encouraged everyone to participate and learn from each other.  He is extremely helpful and makes students at ease. At the same time, he keeps the teaching standards high. I loved this course!"
  • "He is very patient and encouraging. He is very clear and open in class. He has an approachable demeanor and is a good communicator."
  • "My favorite instructor and extremely thoughtful. He knows the course materials so well which enabled him to deliver. He is also very funny."

Dr. Breu was particularly praised for his use of role play and weekly acting sessions which allowed students to practice having difficult bioethical conversations. Dr. Hundert shared additional feedback from medical students about his teaching in the MD curriculum at Harvard Medical School:

  • "Dr. Breu is the best small group leader ever! He had the perfect balance of input and facilitation. He went out of his way to make sure we were comfortable as students and always addressed our questions and concerns."
  • "Dr. Breu is a superstar... [He] has a clean and crisp knowledge of issues and genuine curiosity that inspires unbelievable questions. One of his most valuable attributes is his continuous application of these topics to his own professional experiences. He makes them real for us. And his sense of humor goes a long way in easing the atmosphere of the room, allowing for meaningful dialogue even on contentious topics."

It is our great pleasure, with gratitude and admiration, to present Dr. Breu with this award.