Adjunct Associate Professor
William Nelson is director of the Rural Ethics Initiatives at Dartmouth Medical School, where he is also an associate professor of psychiatry, and community and family medicine.
From 1991 to 2003, he was chief of the Ethics Education Service for the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for Ethics in Health Care, which he co-founded. From 1979-1990 he was the Chief, Chaplain Service at the White River Junction, VT VA Medical Center. From 1986-1989, he was a W.K. Kellogg National Leadership Fellow studying United States and international health care policy.
Dr. Nelson is the principal investigator of several federal- and state-funded research studies fostering an evidence-based approach to ethics and the linkage between ethics and quality care. He also co-edited Managing Ethically: An Executive's Guide and is a regular contributor to Healthcare Executive.
In 1984, he received the United States Congressional Excalibur Award for Public Service, for his efforts concerning the ethical care of the terminally ill. In 2004 he received the Department of Veterans Affairs under secretary for health's highest honor, the "Exemplary Service Award." In the same year the Department of Veterans Affairs established the annual competitive William A. Nelson Award for Excellence in Health Care Ethics. In 2006 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Elmhurst College. He was recently named a 2008-2009 Rural Health Leadership Fellow by the National Rural Health Association.
Dr. Nelson received his MDiv. from Andover Newton Theological School, and a Ph.D. from the Union Institute and University.