Dr. Helft was appointed Director of the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics in November, 2004. A native of Indianapolis, he completed his undergraduate degree in General Studies in the Humanities (philosophy and art history), medical degree, his internship and residency in internal medicine, and fellowships in hematology/oncology and clinical medical ethics at the University of Chicago. There, he was a fellow and senior fellow and Doctor-Patient Relationship Scholar at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics from 1999-2001. Dr. Helft joined the faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine in 2001, where he is currently a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and adjunct professor in the Department of Surgery. His clinical work is based in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has been Vice President of the Department of Clinical and Organizational Ethics at Indiana University Health.
Dr. Helft oversees all aspects of the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center operations and is responsible for the creation of its major programs, including the Fairbanks Fellowship in Clinical Ethics and the Fairbanks Program in Nursing Ethics. Dr. Helft’s own research interests have focused on the ethical aspects of doctor-patient communication, clinical ethics, transplant ethics, and patient care ethics among interdisciplinary professionals. He is the author of more than 100 publications. He has lectured widely on ethics and gastrointestinal malignancies and has been the principal investigator on seven grants. In 2007, because of his work in creating connections in ethics between doctors and nurses, he was awarded the Victoria L. Champion Boundary Spanning Award from the Indiana University School of Nursing. He is the recipient of the IUPUI Trustee Teaching Award three times, the Department of Medicine Faculty Mentorship Award, and the IU School of Medicine Honor Roll of Professionalism. He has taught ethics to scores of multidisciplinary professionals and created the original core curriculum taught to ethics fellows at the Fairbanks Center.