University administration

Bioethicist Nancy Kass named vice provost for graduate and professional education at Johns Hopkins

She currently serves as deputy director for public health at Berman Institute of Bioethics

Nancy Kass, a distinguished scholar and leader in the fields of bioethics and health policy, will become Johns Hopkins University's vice provost for graduate and professional education effective Sept. 1.

Nancy Kass

Image caption: Nancy Kass

Kass is the current deputy director for public health at the Berman Institute of Bioethics and a professor of bioethics and public health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She led the PhD concentration in bioethics and public health policy at the School of Public Health for 15 years.

As vice provost for graduate and professional education, Kass will help support JHU's many graduate and professional programs in developing students and preparing them to launch impactful careers. She will succeed Kelly Gebo, vice provost for education, who will step down at the end of August to pursue a cross-university opportunity between Johns Hopkins and the Stanford University School of Medicine.

"Nancy brings extensive expertise in the study of bioethics and health policy to the provost's office as well as a proven track record of fostering relationships across the university," Provost Sunil Kumar said. "Her thoughtful leadership, renowned scholarship, and collaborative spirit make her ideally suited for this important position."

Kass has dedicated her career to supporting bioethics research, practice, and education. In 2001, she became the first bioethicist to publish an ethics framework for public health. In 2009, she served on the World Health Organization Ethics Review Committee Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, where she worked with representatives from around the world to establish ethics guidelines. She is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and a Fellow of the Hastings Center.

One of her proudest career accomplishments, Kass said, is her work on the Fogarty African Bioethics Training program, which establishes collaborative training partnerships with institutions in sub-Saharan Africa to support the development of ethics and bioethics research.

She said she looks forward to listening and learning in her new role, which has been refined to focus on graduate and professional education. Janet Schreck, assistant vice provost for education, will continue to share responsibilities related to undergraduate education.

"There are many philosophies of graduate education, and I can't emphasize strongly enough the importance of thinking about both theoretical training and application of the knowledge and skills learned—I don't think one can come at the expense of the other," Kass said. "Being deliberate about how one's work makes the world a better place is important, at least for certain fields."

Kass received her Doctor of Science in health policy from the Bloomberg School in 1989 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics.

In her new role, she will implement and analyze graduate student surveys, facilitate greater diversity and inclusion efforts in graduate programs, work on a PhD alumni database to help the university stay connected with professional students following graduation, and collaborate closely with schools to identify cross-cutting goals and initiatives.

Additionally, she will continue her faculty and research work, including chairing the national Precision Medicine Internal Review Board and co-directing the Fogarty African Bioethics Training Program. She will also continue projects on consent and respect in research, and on developing ethics guidance for infectious disease outbreaks.

"One of the joys and luxuries of a university such as Johns Hopkins is that there are so many different kinds of programs training talented people to do so many different things," Kass said. "I look forward to learning a tremendous amount from colleagues who are steeped in the graduate education mission from the many divisions."