Stephen G. PostDirector, Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics
State University of New York, Stony Brook
Recognized internationally for his work on the unselfish compassionate love at the interface of science, ethics, religious thought, and behavioral medicine, Stephen Post was Professor of Bioethics, Philosophy and Religion in the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University from 1988 to July 2008. In addition, he is a recognized expert on the ethical aspects of caring for persons with dementia and developmental cognitive disabilities.
Prof. Post began writing on the subject of altruism and the spirituality of love at the age of 16, for which he received honors at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire. His college focus on the evolution of altruism led to a research assistantship at Cornel Medical School, focusing on the endocrinology of altruism. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago Divinity School (1983), where he received a “distinction” for his dissertation on love and human fulfillment, was elected a University Fellow, and taught in the Pritzker School of Medicine. He has continued to focus on the theme of altruism and love over the entire course of his career across a variety of disciplines. During the 1990’s his research on the dynamics of compassionate love in the lives of persons with dementia and their caregivers resulted in his being elected member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of Alzheimer's Disease International. Post served on the National Ethics Advisory Board for the Alzheimer's Association, and was recognized in 1998 for “distinguished service” by its national board. In 2004 Post was elected a Distinguished Fellow of College of Physicians of Philadelphia. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and various other entities.
Prof. Post was selected by Sir John Templeton as Founding President of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love - Altruism, Compassion, Service, which was founded in 2001 with a generous grant from the Templeton Foundation (www.unlimitedloveinstitute.com). The Institute facilitates research, writing, conferences, and courses at the interface of science, spirituality, health, and love for humanity. Since the day the Institute was founded at a meeting in a coffee shop on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, it has been featured in 2500 newspapers and magazine across the country from the New York Times to Psychology Today, from 20/20 to The Hour of Power. It has funded more than 70 scientific studies at universities from Harvard to Stanford converging on the reasons why positive "spiritual" emotions (compassion, forgiveness, love & gratitude) and giving behaviors benefit givers; it has also convened an annual conference of 1000 participants from 40 different countries, bringing together spiritual leaders, theologians, scientists, and practitioners of agape and compassionate love from every corner of the globe. Dr. Post has chaired nine national conferences, and delivers numerous invited lectures in the United States and abroad.
Prof. Post has published over 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Science, The International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, The Journal of Religion, The American Journal of Psychiatry, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and The Lancet. He has written seven scholarly books on love, and is also the editor of eight other books, most recently including Altruism & Health: Perspectives from Empirical Research, and Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue, both published by Oxford University Press. He is also editor-in-chief of the definitive, five-volume Encyclopedia of Bioethics. His most recent book, published with Broadway Books is Why Good Things Happen to Good People: The Exciting New Science That Proves the Link Between Doing Good and Living a Longer, Happier, Healthier Life (with Jill Neimark). www.whygoodthingshappen.com