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Hastings Center Recognizes Ruth Faden for Lifetime Achievement in Bioethics

Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH, founder of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Bioethics, received The Hastings Center’s 2019 Henry Knowles Beecher Award for lifetime achievement in bioethics. 

“Ruth Faden has profoundly influenced innumerable aspects of our field and, perhaps more importantly, helped to shape public policy on some of the nation’s most pressing issues: from HIV testing of pregnant women to food and agriculture policy, and many aspects of science policy, including stem cell and embryo research,” said Hastings Center president Mildred Solomon, as she presented the award at the annual meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Society in Pittsburgh on October 24.

“She has also powerfully critiqued the prevailing research ethics paradigm in the United States, encouraging major shifts in how we think about the oversight of comparative effectiveness research and learning health systems.” 

Dr. Faden’s research focuses on structural justice theory and on national and global challenges in food and agriculture, learning health care systems, women’s health, the rights and interests of pregnant women, health systems design and priority setting, and advances in science and technology. She is the author of numerous books and articles. Her latest book, with Madison Powers, is Structural Injustice: Power, Advantage, and Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Dr. Faden was the Berman Institute’s director from 1995 until 2016 and the inaugural Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director (2014-­2016). During the 20 years she led the Berman Institute, she transformed what was an informal interest group of faculty members across Johns Hopkins into a one of the world’s premier bioethics programs with over 35 faculty, 30 staff, and over 100 alumni. Under her direction, the Berman Institute became a university­-wide unit of Johns Hopkins with its own building, reporting to the Provost. Dr. Faden also secured a significant endowment for the Berman Institute, including six endowed professorships and an endowed directorship.

Dr. Faden is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of The Hastings Center and the American Psychological Association. She has served on numerous national advisory committees and commissions, including President William Clinton’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, which she chaired. She co­launched the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program, sponsor of the 7 by 5 Agenda for Ethics and Global Food Security. She is also a co­founder of the Hinxton Group, a global community committed to advancing ethical and policy challenges in stem cell science, and the Second Wave initiative, an effort to ensure that the health interests of pregnant women are fairly represented in biomedical research and drug and device policies.

In 2011, Dr. Faden was the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) and Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIMR).