Medicine's man of morals

Jeffrey Kahn

Image credit: Photograph courtesy of Jeffrey Kahn

While working in a hospital as a premed student, Jeffrey Kahn, SPH '88, came to a difficult conclusion: He didn't like being around sick people. Soon after, he took a bioethics class and had a different reaction. "Wow, this is really interesting," Kahn recalls. "I was able to interact with the health care system another way."

Kahn was appointed director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics last July after serving five years as deputy director. He leads the institute's exploration of ethical issues related to topics including health care access, Ebola, and emerging genetic technologies. In 2011, he chaired a committee commissioned by the National Institutes of Health which concluded that the use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is unnecessary, leading NIH to end its support of such research in 2015. "This is the first time a species has been deemed off-limits for use in research," Kahn says. "It's a road map on how to think about other uses of animals in biomedical research going forward."

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