Jeffrey Kahn Appointed to Second Term as Director of Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics

July 24, 2023

Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH, who has served as Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics since 2016, has been appointed to a second term as the Institute’s director by JHU President Ron Daniels and Interim Provost Stephen Gange. During his time as Director, Kahn has strengthened the Berman Institute’s standing as one of the top bioethics programs in the world, advanced institutional goals, expanded collaboration across the university, increased available resources for the Institute’s faculty, staff and students, and successfully led the Institute through the years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Kahn’s leadership, the Berman Institute’s accomplishments include:

  • Collaborating with academic colleagues and policymakers, from Baltimore to around the globe, to help ensure an ethical public health response to COVID-19;
  • Receiving the largest gift in the Institute’s history, to endow funding for the full range of the Institute’s education and training programs including endowed MBE scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships;
  • Establishing a global partnership on infectious disease ethics with the counterpart bioethics program at the University of Oxford;
  • Leading the creation and launch of the Dracopoulos-Bloomberg Bioethics iDeas Lab to pioneer new approaches for creating and disseminating bioethics content;
  • Establishing new bioethics training programs for health and science professionals in Africa, Asia and Europe;
  • Expanding the faculty by recruiting a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in Bioethics and Philosophy, two early career scholars with expertise in the areas of bioethics and health policy, a senior scholar in law and bioethics, and securing philanthropic commitment to create a new endowed professorship in bioethics education;
  • Growing the master’s degree program enrollment and securing scholarship funding to support recruitment of the most highly qualified students;
  • Raising funds for and participating in the planning and design process for Henrietta Lacks Hall, adding needed state of the art space for education, faculty, and the public for the Institute’s growth;
  • Strengthening inter-divisional connections within JHU through new projects in applied ethics;
  • Diversifying the faculty with recruitment of younger and more diverse scholars and researchers; and
  • Launching an Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism, and Equity effort that is a model for other parts of the University.

In addition to his leadership of the Institute, Kahn maintains his own ambitious research agenda, focusing on ethical and policy issues in public health, and emerging life sciences technologies, including frequent leadership of national and international committees and consultations. He and colleagues recently completed a multi-year project funded by the NIH entitled BRIDGES (Bridging Infectious Disease, Genomics, and Society), which explored the ethical, legal, and social implications of host genomics in infectious disease.  He continues to work on projects funded by government agencies and private foundations, including co-leading the Wellcome Trust-funded Global Infectious Disease Ethics Collaborative with colleagues from the University of Oxford, a recently launched oral history project that is focusing on the stories of the founding scholars of the field of bioethics, and a nationally distributed 10-episode bioethics podcast.