Ruth Faden Receives Hastings Center’s 2019 Beecher Award

October 14, 2019

Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH, founder of the Berman Institute and Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Bioethics, has been named the 2019 recipient of The Beecher Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Hastings Center’s most prestigious award recognizing individuals who have made a lifetime contribution to ethics and the life sciences and whose careers have been devoted to excellence in scholarship, research, and ethical inquiry. In its citation, the Hastings Center states “Dr. Faden’s work has profoundly influenced innumerable aspects of our field and, perhaps more importantly, helped to shape public policy on some of the nation’s most pressing issues: from HIV testing of pregnant women to food and agriculture policy, and many aspects of science policy, including stem cell and embryo research. She has also powerfully critiqued the prevailing research ethics paradigm in the United States, encouraging major shifts in how we think about the oversight of comparative effectiveness research.”

In her latest book, Structural Injustice: Power, Advantage, and Human Rights (September 2019, Oxford University Press), Dr. Faden and co-author Madison Powers build on their longstanding call for bioethics and public health to expand its understanding of justice to put forward a groundbreaking theory of social injustice, more broadly. Their theory forges links between human rights and fairness norms and is built to fit a real-world characterized by deprivation, human rights violations, disadvantage, and unfair power relations, both within and across nations.

Dr. Faden was the Berman Institute’s Director from 1995 until 2016, and the inaugural Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director (2014-­2016). During the many years she led the Berman Institute, Faden transformed what was an informal interest group of diverse Hopkins faculty into one of the world’s premier bioethics programs. Under her direction, the Berman Institute became a university­-wide unit of Johns Hopkins with its own building, reporting to the Provost. Dr. Faden also secured a significant endowment for the Berman Institute, including six endowed professorships and an endowed directorship.

Dr. Faden’s current research focuses on structural justice theory, and on national and global challenges in food and agriculture, learning health care systems, health systems design and priority setting, and access to the benefits of global investments in biomedical research. Dr. Faden also works on ethical challenges in biomedical science, with a particular focus on women’s health and the rights and interests of pregnant women.

Dr. Faden is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the Hastings Center and the American Psychological Association. In 1994-95, she chaired the United States Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, which issued a report President Bill Clinton said “should be engraved in our national memory.” She co-­launched the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program, sponsor of the 7 by 5 Agenda for Ethics and Global Food Security. She is also a co-­founder of the Hinxton Group, a global community committed to advancing ethical and policy challenges in stem cell science, and the Second Wave initiative, an effort to ensure that the health interests of pregnant women are fairly represented in biomedical research and drug and device policies.

In 2011, Dr. Faden was the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) and Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIMR).