Nancy E. Kass, ScD

Deputy Director for Public Health; Phoebe R. Berman Professor of Bioethics and Public Health


1809 Ashland Ave
Room 204
Baltimore, MD 21205
  • Deputy Director for Public Health
    Phoebe R. Berman Professor of Bioethics and Public Health
    Berman Institute of Bioethics
  • Professor of Health Policy and Management
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Nancy Kass, ScD, is the Phoebe R. Berman Professor of Bioethics and Public Health at Johns Hopkins, where she is also both the Deputy Director for Public Health in the Berman Institute of Bioethics and Professor of Health Policy and Management in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Starting June 1, 2023, Dr. Kass began serving as Ethics Advisor, Office of the Commissioner, at the Food and Drug Administration through an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignmentDr. Kass conducts empirical work in bioethics and health policy. Her publications are primarily in the field of U.S. and international research ethics, HIV/AIDS ethics policy, public health ethics (including ethics and obesity prevention and ethics and public health preparedness), and ethics and the learning healthcare system  In 2009-2010, Dr. Kass was based in Geneva, Switzerland, where she was working with the World Health Organization (WHO) Ethics Review Committee SecretariatFrom 2017-2023, Dr. Kass served as Vice-Provost for Graduate Education for Johns Hopkins University. 

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Dr. Kass is coeditor (with Ruth Faden) of HIV, AIDS and Childbearing: Public Policy, Private Lives (Oxford University Press, 1996).

She has served as consultant to the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and to the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Kass currently serves as the Chair of the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative Central IRB; she previously co-chaired the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Committee to develop Recommendations for Informed Consent Documents for Cancer Clinical Trials and served on the NCI’s central IRB. Current research projects examine improving informed consent in human research, ethical guidance development for Ebola and other infectious outbreaks, and ethics and learning health care. Dr. Kass teaches the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s course on U.S. and International Research Ethics and Integrity, she served as the director of the School’s PhD program in bioethics and health policy from its inception until 2016, and she has directed (with Adnan Hyder) the Johns Hopkins Fogarty African Bioethics Training Program since its inception in 2000. Dr. Kass is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine) and an elected Fellow of the Hastings Center.

Research Interests

  • Public health ethics
  • Research ethics
  • Learning health system ethics
  • Big data ethics
  • Outbreaks and ethics
  • Public health campaigns and ethics


  • Post-doctoral fellowship: Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University
  • ScD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • BA, Stanford University

Recent Publications

  1. Kass, N.E. and Faden, R.R. “Ethics and Learning Health Care: The Essential Roles of Engagement, Transparency, and Accountability”, Learning Health Systems, 2018; September 18. e10066. doi: 10.1002/lrh2.10066
  2. Kass, N. “A Journey in Public Health Ethics”, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 2017; 60(1): 103-116. doi: 10.1353/pbm.2017.0022.
  3. Kass, N. (2014). Ebola, Ethics, and Public Health: What’s Next? Annals of internal medicine161(10), 744-745.
  4. Ali, J., Kass, N. E., Sewankambo, N. K., White, T. D., & Hyder, A. A. (2014). Evaluating International Research Ethics Capacity Development: An Empirical Approach. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics9(2), 41-51.
  5. Kass, N., Hecht, K., Paul, A., & Birnbach, K. (2014). Ethics and Obesity Prevention: Ethical Considerations in Three Approaches to Reducing Consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages. American journal of public health104(5), 787-795.
  6. Kass, N. E., Faden, R. R., GooDMAN, S. N., PRoNoVoST, P. E. T. E. R., TuNiS, S. E. A. N., & BEAuCHAMP, T. L. (2013). The Research-Treatment Distinction: A Problematic Approach for Determining Which Activities Should Have Ethical Oversight.  Hastings Center Report43(s1), S4-S15.
  7. Faden, R. R., Kass, N. E., Goodman, S. N., Pronovost, P., Tunis, S., & Beauchamp, T. L. (2013). An Ethics Framework for a Learning Health Care System: A Departure from Traditional Research Ethics and Clinical Ethics. Hastings Center Report43(s1), S16-S27.
  8. Kass, N. E., & Faden, R. R. (2018). Ethics and Learning Health Care: The Essential roles of engagement, transparency, and accountability. Learning Health Systems, 2(4), e10066.