Johns Hopkins Medicine
Office of Corporate Communications
Media contact: David March
410-955-1534; [email protected]
Oct. 24, 2005


Gabor Kelen, M.D.
*click on image for high resolution photo

Johns Hopkins emergency medicine specialist Gabor Kelen, M.D., has today been elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences.  Kelen, a professor and chair of emergency medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was named to the IOM along with 63 other accomplished physicians and scientists from across the country. 

With the appointment, Kelen joins 44 other Hopkins faculty elected to the IOM, which has 1,461 members worldwide. Three Hopkins researchers - Thomas Quinn, M.D., Diane Griffin, M.D., Ph.D., and John Griffin, M.D. - were appointed last year.

Established in 1970 by the National Academies, the IOM honors professional achievement in the health sciences and serves as a national advisory group for independent analysis and recommendations on issues related to medicine, biomedical sciences and health. 

Current active members elect new members from among candidates nominated for their major contributions to their fields.  Members pledge to volunteer significant amounts of time on committees that evaluate ways to improve health.

Kelen, who joined Hopkins in 1984, was among the first emergency medicine physicians in the country to conduct original research in the then-developing field.  His pioneering work, which was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Annals of Internal Medicine, helped establish emergency medicine as a full academic department at Hopkins in 1994, with Kelen as its first director. 

Kelen’s research was essential to exposing the extent of the HIV epidemic and subsequent adoption of universal precautions in health care to prevent its spread.  He was the first clinician-scientist to refute the notion of universal testing of patients for HIV or other infectious diseases as a prerequisite to rendering care or performing procedures, instead turning the focus to universal precautions.  Kelen also promoted the economic effectiveness and compassionate roles that emergency services play in delivering health care to people with HIV. 

Shortly after 9/11, he became the founding director of the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR), which helps Hopkins to prepare for calamitous events and assists with national and international disaster-relief efforts.  Most recently, CEPAR provided assistance to victims of the tsunami in Southern Asia, hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast, and the earthquake in Pakistan.  Kelen’s current research interests are in developing the scientific foundations and methodologies necessary to study the expert field of disaster response.

A frequent lecturer to medical and public health students at Hopkins, and at national and international forums, Kelen has received numerous awards, including the Emergency Medicine Foundation Center of Excellence Award, the American College of Emergency Physicians’ Outstanding Contribution to Research Award and the Society of Emergency Medicine’s Academic Excellence Award.

- JHM -