The Center for Ethics in Science & Technology was founded in 2003 by Michael Kalichman, UC San Diego, with initial support from Peter Ellsworth of the Legler Benbough Foundation.
Dr. Kalichman initially formed an informal executive committee, consisting of himself, Larry Hinman (USD), and Sara Burke (SDSTC), with Andrea Paik as the senior coordinator. Shortly thereafter an initial Steering Committee was formed, which included the members of the executive committee plus Peter Ellsworth (Legler Benbough Foundation), Christian Crews (Waite Foundation), Chris Todd (President, San Diego Bar Association), and Mark Trotter (Parker Foundation).
In a series of meetings, the initial agenda for the Center emerged. The first task was to determine what the needs of our regional community were, and the way to accomplish that was through stakeholder events and focus groups, both of which would seek input from leaders in the local community about ways in which the Ethics Center could assist them.
The first stakeholder event was held in conjunction with the visit of Dr. Thomas Murray, President of the Hastings Center, on September 8, 2003.
Shortly thereafter they began working on the formation of several focus groups. The first of these groups, comprised of religious leaders in San Diego, met on March 1, 2004.
The next meeting of the religious leaders focus group occurred on April 23, 2004, and was held in conjunction with the second stakeholder event, at which Dr. William Hurlbut (Stanford) delivered the keynote address.
The next focus group was for media leaders, and that was held on May 4, 2004, under the leadership of Kate Callen.
The second task was to survey other ethics centers to see what models were most suitable for this San Diego undertaking. Both Mike Kalichman and Larry Hinman visited other centers as part of their regular university responsibilities, and together they attended the Ethics Center Colloquium of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, where they were able to speak with a number of ethics center directors. .