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Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi Professorship in Bioethics and Public Policy

Berman Institute of Bioethics, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Established in 2000 by the Levi family in memory of Robert H. Levi and in honor of Ryda H. Levi


ROBERT H. LEVI, A&S ‘36 (1915-1995), trustee of both the university and hospital, was a leader in fundraising at Hopkins beginning in the 1970s. He was described by former Hopkins President Milton S. Eisenhower as “one of the wisest men I have ever met.” RYDA H. LEVI was internationally known for her ongoing support of art and education. Mr. and Mrs. Levi donated the funds and art for the establishment of the Baltimore Museum of Art sculpture garden. In 1985, the west wing of Mudd Hall on the Homewood campus was dedicated to the Levi’s for their extraordinary devotion and generosity to the university. In 1997, two years after his death, the Robert H. Levi Leadership Program in Bioethics and Public Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bioethics Institute was established in Mr. Levi’s memory by the Hecht-Levi Foundation. The program includes a biannual symposium on pressing ethical issues in medicine and health policy.

The Levi Professorship will be held by a faculty member in the Bloomberg School of Public Health who serves on the core faculty of the Bioethics Institute, a joint initiative of the schools of Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. The institute is dedicated to the study of complex moral and policy issues in biomedical science, health care, and health policy. Its mission is to educate leaders in bioethics; to promote research at the intersection of ethics, law, medicine and science; and to provide policy advice to the government and the private sector.

“He was interested in charting courses that considered the moral dimension as well as the practical.” Alexander H. Levi, son of Robert and Ryda and JHU Emeritus Trustee

Held by Jeffrey P. Kahn


JEFFREY KAHN, PhD, MPH, is the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, a position he assumed in July 2016. From 2011, he has been the inaugural Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy. He is also Professor in the Deptartment of Health Policy and Management of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He works in a variety of areas of bioethics, exploring the intersection of ethics and health/science policy, including human and animal research ethics, public health, and ethical issues in emerging biomedical technologies. In 2016, Professor Kahn was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), an independent, peer-elected organization advising the nation on medical and health issues.

Professor Kahn has served on numerous state and federal advisory panels. He is currently chair of NAM’s Board on Health Sciences Policy, and has previously chaired its committee on the Use of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research (2011); the committee on Ethics Principles and Guidelines for Health Standards for Long Duration and Exploration Spaceflights (2014); and a committee on the Ethical, Social, and Policy Considerations of Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques (2016). He also formerly served as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee.

In addition to committee appointments, Professor Kahn was the founding president of the Association of Bioethics Program Directors, an office he held from 2006-2010. He is also an elected Fellow of The Hastings Center.

Professor Kahn is a co-principal investigator with Berman Institute faculty member Gail Geller, ScD, MHS, on GUIDE: Genomic Uses in Infectious Disease and Epidemics, an NIH-funded project to study the largely unexplored ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genomics as applied to infectious disease.

Professor Kahn’s publications include Contemporary Issues in Bioethics; Beyond Consent: Seeking Justice in Research; and Ethics of Research With Human Subjects: Selected Policies and Resources, as well as over 125 scholarly and research articles. He also speaks widely across the U.S. and around the world on a range of bioethics topics, in addition to frequent media outreach. From 1998-2002 he wrote the bi-weekly column Ethics Matters on Prior to joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins, Professor Kahn was Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota.