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Vice Provost for Graduate and Professional Education

Nancy Kass, ScD '89, studies the ethics' implications of alternative public health policies and public health research designs in the US and globally.

Contact Info

1809 Ashland Avenue, Deering Hall, Room 204

Research Interests

bioethics; research ethics; public health ethics; comparative effectiveness research; learning health care; obesity ethics; international; women; genetics; HIV/AIDS; health policy
Experiences & Accomplishments
Johns Hopkins University
Nancy Kass, ScD, is Vice-Provost for Graduate and Professional Education for Johns Hopkins University; she also is the Phoebe R. Berman Professor of Bioethics and Public Health, in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Deputy Director for Public Health in the Berman Institute of Bioethics. In 2009-2010, Dr. Kass was based in Geneva, Switzerland, where she was working with the World Health Organization (WHO) Ethics Review Committee Secretariat. Dr. Kass received her BA from Stanford University, completed doctoral training in health policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and was awarded a National Research Service Award to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in bioethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University. Dr. Kass conducts empirical work in bioethics and health policy. Her publications are primarily in the field of U.S. and international research ethics, HIV/AIDS ethics policy, public health ethics, and ethics of public health preparedness. She is co-editor of HIV, AIDS and Childbearing: Public Policy, Private Lives (Oxford University Press, 1996). Dr. Kass currently chairs the national Precision Medicine Initiative central IRB and she serves on the Health and Medicine Division committee of the National Academy of Medicine. Previously, she co-chaired the National Cancer Institute Committee to develop Recommendations for Informed Consent Documents for Cancer Clinical Trials, and served on the NCI’s central IRB.  She has served as consultant to the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and to the National Academy of Sciences. Current research projects examine ethics for a learning healthcare system, informed consent in randomized trials, ethics issues that arise in international health research and ethics and outbreak response. Dr. Kass has taught courses on research ethics and HIV ethics, she served as director of the PhD program in bioethics and health policy for 15 years, and is the director (with Adnan Hyder and Joseph Ali) of the Johns Hopkins Fogarty African Bioethics Training Program. Dr. Kass is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine) and a Fellow of the Hastings Center.
Honors & Awards
GBFFR annual Award, Global Forum on Bioethics in Research, 2016
Member, Institute of Medicine, 2008
Fellow, Hastings Center, 2007
Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, 1996
AMTRA (Advising, Mentoring, and Teaching Award), Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 1996
National Research Service Award, National Center for Health Services Research and Health Care Technology Assessment, 1990
Dissertation Grant, National Center for Health Services Research and Health Care Technology Assessment, 1988
Public Health Training Grant, 1986
Dean's Award for Service, Stanford University, 1983
Select Publications
These five publications reflect some recent work on ethics and learning health care, some classic and recent work on public health ethics, and one internationally focused article related to almost two decades of Fogarty funded bioethics capacity development work in Africa.
  • Kass NE, Faden RR, Goodman SN, Pronovost P, Tunis S, Beauchamp TL. (2013). The Research-Treatment Distinction: A Problematic Approach for Determining Which Activities Should Have Ethical Oversight. Hastings Center Report. 43(1): S1-15.
  • Faden RR, Kass NE, Goodman SN, Pronovost P, Tunis S, Beauchamp, TL. (2013). An Ethics Framework for a Learning Health Care System: A Departure from Traditional Research Ethics and Clinical Ethics. Hastings Center Report. 43(1): S16-27.
  • Kass, N., Ali, J., Hallez, K., Hyder, A. “Bioethics training programmes for Africa: evaluating professional and bioethics-related achievements of African trainees after a decade of Fogarty NIH investment”, BMJ Open, 2016; 6(9): e012758. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012758.
  • Kass N. (2001). An ethics framework for public health. American Journal of Public Health, 91(11):1776-1782.
  • Kass N, Hecht K, Paul A, Birnbach K. (2014). Ethics and obesity prevention: ethical considerations in 3 approaches to reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. American Journal of Public Health, in press.
JHU-Fogarty African Bioethics Training Program
Environmental Justice Partnership
CDC Informed Consent Project
Testing Modified Approaches to Informed Consent
Bioethics of Quality Improvement and Comparative Effectivenss Research
Demonstrating Respect and Acceptable Consent Strategies: What Matters to Patients in PCOR?