Norman Fost, MD, MPH

Position title: Professor Emeritus

Division of Child Protection
600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53792-4108
For Academic Inquiries: (608) 265-5835

Norm Fost


BA, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
MD, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Residency, Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland
Chief Residency, Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland
Fellowship, Harvard Program in Law, Medicine and Ethics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
MPH, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Professional Activities

Dr. Norman Fost is professor emeritus in the Division of Child Protection. Fost has held numerous leadership positions throughout his career, including service as vice chair of the Departments of Pediatrics and Medical History and Bioethics for 10 years, founder and director of the University of Wisconsin (UW) Child Protection Program for 33 years, and director of the Pediatric Residency Program for 21 years. In addition, Fost was the founder and director of the Program in Bioethics and served as the chair of both the UW Hospital Ethics Committee and the UW Health Sciences Internal Review Board for 31 years. Additional leadership positions include membership on the UW Athletic Board and service as the chair of the Wisconsin Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Newborn Screening since 2013.

Nationally, Fost has served on numerous Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) committees and was formerly the chair of the FDA Pediatric Ethics Committee and the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Bioethics. Distinctively, Fost was a member of former President Clinton’s Health Care Task Force.

Fost has received many honors for his participation in the field of bioethics, including a lifetime achievement award from the US Office of Human Research Protection and election to the Princeton University Board of Trustees. Moreover, he was the recipient of the MacLean Prize in Bioethics, the Nellie Westermann Award in Research Ethics, and the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Bioethics. 

Fost is a frequent consultant on ethical issues in healthcare. He has appeared on numerous national television shows including “Good Morning America”, “The Today Show”, “Larry King Live”, and “Oprah”.

Fost has an affiliate appointment in the Department of Medical History and Bioethics

Clinical Interests

Fost serves as an ethics consultant on the UW Hospital Ethics Committee. In addition, he teaches bioethics throughout the residency training program, including a course on ethical and regulatory issues in human subjects research. Fost’s past clinical involvements include leadership of the UW Hospital Child Protection Team, service as a pediatric hospitalist, and consultancy within the Diagnostic Clinic.

Research Interests

Fost investigates legal and ethical issues in healthcare using empiric and analytic analyses. Specific projects explore end of life decisions in infants, genetic screening, performance enhancing drugs, organ transplantation, access to growth hormone, and youth tackle football.