Ruth R. Faden, Ph.D.

Headshot of Ruth R. Faden
  • Joint Appointment in Medicine

Research Interests

Health policy and management; Ethics; Vaccine ethics; Bioethics and public policy; Ethics and cellular engineering; Ethics and neuroscience; Ethics and bioterrorism; Genetics and public policy; Research ethics; Justice theory more


Dr. Ruth R. Faden is the Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Biomedical Ethics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She holds a joint appointment in health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

A renowned expert on biomedical ethics, Dr. Faden founded the Berman Institute of Bioethics in 1995 and served as its Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director until 2016.

She earned both a Ph.D. and an M.P.H. at the University of California.

In addition to serving on many national advisory committees and commissions, Dr. Faden has authored, co-authored or edited a number of books and articles on biomedical ethics and health policy. These include Social Justice: The Moral Foundations of Public Health and Health Policy; A History and Theory of Informed Consent; AIDS, Women and the Next Generation; and HIV, AIDS and Childbearing: Public Policy, Private Lives. more


  • Joint Appointment in Medicine

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Faden’s research focuses on justice theory; national and global challenges in learning health care systems, health systems design and priority settings; access to the benefits of global investments in biomedical research; and ethical challenges in biomedical science and women’s health. She is a co-principal investigator of the Global Food Ethics Initiative, sponsor of the 7 by 5 Agenda for Ethics and Global Food Security.

Selected Publications

Whicher D, Kass N, Faden R. “Stakeholders' views of alternatives to prospective informed consent for minimal-risk pragmatic comparative effectiveness trials.” J Law Med Ethics. 2015 Summer;43(2):397-409. doi: 10.1111/jlme.12256.

Henry LM, Rushton C, Beach MC, Faden R. “Respect and dignity: a conceptual model for patients in the intensive care unit.” Narrat Inq Bioeth. 2015;5(1A):5A-14A. doi: 10.1353/nib.2015.0007.

Whicher D, Kass N, Saghai Y, Faden R, Tunis S, Pronovost P. “The views of quality improvement professionals and comparative effectiveness researchers on ethics, IRBs, and oversight.” J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 2015 Apr;10(2):132-44. doi: 10.1177/1556264615571558. Epub 2015 Feb 23.

Barnhill A, King KF, Kass N, Faden R. “The value of unhealthy eating and the ethics of healthy eating policies.” Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 2014 Sep;24(3):187-217.

Faden RR, Beauchamp TL, Kass NE. “Informed consent for comparative effectiveness trials.” N Engl J Med. 2014 May 15;370(20):1959-60. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc1403310. No abstract available.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Courses and Syllabi

  • Foundations of Bioethics (700.601.01)
    Berman Institute of Bioethics

Activities & Honors


  • Lifetime Achievement Award, American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research, 2011
  • Fellow, American Psychological Association
  • Fellow, The Hastings Center Fellows Council, 1998 - 2002


  • Institute of Medicine
  • Delta Omega

Professional Activities

  • Chair, President William J. Clinton’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments
  • Co-founder, The Hinxton Group
  • Co-founder, The Second Wave Initiative

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

  • “40 Years After Tuskegee: Reuniting Medical Research and Practice,” The Atlantic, Jan. 16, 2013
  • “Coke's Unconscionable New Ad,” The Atlantic, Jan. 15, 2013
  • “The Moral Failings of Presidential Health Care Politics”, The Atlantic, Oct. 15, 2012
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