May 21, 2012

Inaugural Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy installed

Jeffrey Kahn, deputy director for policy and administration at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and an authority on research and public health ethics, was installed May 1 as the inaugural Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy. Ronald J. Daniels, president of The Johns Hopkins University, was joined by Ruth Faden, director of the Berman Institute, and Michael Klag, dean of the university’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, in a ceremony dedicating the newly endowed professorship.

Kahn, a faculty member at Johns Hop-kins since 2011, was previously a professor and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, positions he held from 1996 to 2011. He serves on numerous state and federal advisory panels, and recently chaired an Institute of Medicine committee that issued a groundbreaking report calling for an end to most biomedical research on chimpanzees. The National Institutes of Health promptly adopted the committee’s recommendations. Kahn is also an elected fellow of the Hastings Center and was founding president of the Association of Bioethics Program Directors, a position he held from 2006 to 2010.

The new professorship is named for Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi, philanthropists who have been great supporters of the field of bioethics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore City and the arts. The Robert. H. Levi Leadership Program in Bioethics and Health Policy was established in 1997.

“It is impossible to overstate the gratitude we feel toward the Levis. We are celebrating a legacy that crosses generations, and a good that will live on, in perpetuity,” Faden said in her remarks at the ceremony. “What Jeff does exceptionally well is link bioethics and public policy, positioning bioethics at the center of many challenges, and improving policy as a result. Making both professional practice and public policy better, more ethical, is what we aim to do at the Berman Institute, and we are much better equipped to do it with Jeff on our faculty,” Faden said.