Jan 2001

Edmund Pellegrino, MD, Exemplary Role Model

Audiey Kao, MD, PhD
Virtual Mentor. 2001;3(1):28. doi: 10.1001/virtualmentor.2001.3.1.prol1-0101.


Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, John Carroll Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics at Georgetown University, is a physician who has been a role model and mentor to countless physicians. Over his long career, Dr. Pellegrino has worked to promote and strengthen the sacred relationship between individuals who are ill and thus vulnerable and their physicians who have "the power to do enormous good and enormous harm." A man of deep faith and conviction, he has tirelessly extolled the importance of physicians’ virtues such as intellectual honesty and fidelity to patient as the ethical basis of the clinical encounter. According to Dr. Pellegrino, one teaches virtue by acting virtuously. This conviction has served as a guiding principle in his professional life, and partly explains his infectious appeal and influence in the field of medical ethics and professionalism.

As the author of more than 500 published works, Dr. Pellegrino has written on subjects ranging from the history and philosophy of medicine to professional ethics and the patient-physician relationship. He has received numerous honorary degrees and awards including the Benjamin Rush Award for Citizenship and Community Service from the American Medical Association and the Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education from the Association of American Medical Colleges. His energy and passion for his life’s work was palpable during a recent interview that I had with him. This passion and enduring enthusiasm are reflected by the fact that he always leaps and does not walk on to the stage when giving a lecture or presentation—not bad for a 40-year old, let alone an 80-year old.

For being a shining example of a physician who strives to live a virtuous and robust life, we are proud to present Dr. Edmund Pellegrino with the Virtual Mentor Award for being an exemplary role model in medicine.


Virtual Mentor. 2001;3(1):28.



The viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.