Bernard "Bud" Hammes was educated at the University of Notre Dame, receiving his BA in 1972 and his PhD in philosophy in 1978. He has taught at the University of Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington and at the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse. Since 1984, he has served as the director of Medical Humanities for the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation in La Crosse, Wisconsin. In this position he provides educational programs for the medical and surgical residents, medical students, and physician assistant students. He also provides inservices and workshops for the medical staff, nursing staff, social workers, and the pastoral care department. Dr. Hammes chairs both the Institutional Review Board and Ethics Committee. For the Institutional Ethics Committee he serves the role of ethics consultant.
Dr. Hammes' work has been primarily focused on improving care at the end of life. To this end, he has developed institutional policies and practices, staff education, and patient/community education with a special focus on advance care planning. This work has resulted in two nationally recognized programs on advance care planning: If I Only Knew ... and Respecting Choices. He has authored or coauthored 23 articles and several book chapters that are focused on clinical ethics, advance care planning, and end-of-life issues.