Nancy Kass

Nancy Kass

  • Phoebe R. Berman Professor of Bioethics and Public Health

  • Departmental Affiliation(s):

    Health Policy and Management (Primary)

    Contact Information

    1809 Ashland Avenue
    Deering Hall, Room 204
    Baltimore , Maryland



    ScD, Johns Hopkins University, 1989


    Nancy Kass, ScD, 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 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 including quality improvement and comparative effectiveness, informed consent in randomized trials, ethics issues that arise in international health research and ethics and public health preparedness. Dr. Kass teaches the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s course on U.S. and International Research Ethics and Integrity, is the director of the School’s PhD program in bioethics and health policy, and is the director of the Johns Hopkins Fogarty African Bioethics Training Program. Dr. Kass is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and a Fellow of the Hastings Center.

    Honors and Awards

    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

    Research Interests

    bioethics, research ethics, public health ethics, comparative effectiveness research, learning health care, obesity ethics, international, women, genetics, HIV/AIDS, health policy


    • 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 NE, Hyder AA, Ajuwon A, Appiah-Poku J, Barsdorf N, Elsayed DE, Mokhachane M, Mupenda B, Ndebele P, Ndossi G,  Sikateyo B, Tangwa G, Tindana PO. (2007). Research Ethics Committees in Africa: Authors’ Reply. Public Library of Science, March; 4(3): 595-96.  
    • 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.