Debra Mathews and Maria Merritt Elected Hastings Center Fellows

January 11, 2021

The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics is pleased to announce that two members of its faculty, Debra JH Mathews, PhD, and Maria Merritt, PhD, have been elected as Fellows by The Hastings Center.

Hastings Center Fellows are a group of more than 200 individuals of outstanding accomplishment whose work has informed scholarship and public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, science, and technology. Their common distinguishing feature is uncommon insight and impact in areas of critical concern to the Center–how best to understand and manage the inevitable values questions, moral uncertainties, and societal effects that arise as a consequence of advances in the life sciences, the need to improve health and health care for people of all ages, and mitigation of human impact on the natural world.

Debra JH Mathews, PhD, MA, is well known for her scholarship and contributions to national and international thought and debates at the intersection of emerging biomedical technologies, ethics, and policy. Dr. Mathews is the assistant director for science programs for the Berman Institute, and an associate professor in the department of genetic medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In addition to her academic work, Dr. Mathews has spent time at the Genetics and Public Policy Center, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues under President Obama, and the National Academy of Medicine, working in various capacities on science policy. Dr. Mathews’s academic work focuses on ethics and policy issues raised by emerging biotechnologies, with particular focus on genetics, stem cell science, neuroscience, and synthetic biology. She currently serves as the chair of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission, is a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the International Neuroethics Society, and is an academic collaborator helping to shape and guide the work of the National Academy of Medicine’s new Committee on Emerging Science, Technology, and Innovation in health and medicine.

Maria Merritt, PhD, is an associate professor at the Berman Institute and Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of International Health (Health Systems Program). Dr. Merritt is a bioethicist whose home discipline is philosophy, specializing in moral philosophy. Her research focuses on two areas of inquiry: 1) delineating health researchers’ ethical responsibilities in relation to participants’ health needs in low resource settings and 2) representing social justice concerns in the economic evaluation of public health programs meant to benefit disadvantaged populations. Leading teams with expertise in health economics, social science, and infectious diseases, she has recently focused on developing an innovative formal methodology to assess social justice impacts in the economic evaluation of novel treatment regimens for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, and of new technologies to diagnose and treat neglected tropical diseases. As the inaugural associate chair for student matters in the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health (2016-2020), she received the School’s Student Assembly Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Commitment to Student Success. Dr. Merritt is an alumna of the Greenwall Faculty Scholars program and is affiliated with the National Institutes of Health as a 2000-2002 postdoctoral Fellow and a 2020-2021 visiting scholar.

Mathews and Merritt join a half-dozen of their Berman Institute faculty colleagues as Hastings Center Fellows. They are:

  • Joseph Carrese
  • Ruth Faden
  • Gail Geller
  • Jeffrey Kahn
  • Nancy Kass
  • Cynda Hylton Rushton