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Leonard S. Rubenstein, JD

  • Senior Scientist

Departmental Affiliations

  • Epidemiology (Primary)
    • Division: Infectious Disease Epidemiology

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street, Suite E7148
Baltimore, Maryland 21205

(443) 287-8749
(410) 614-8371

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JD, Harvard Law School, 1975
LLM, Georgetown University Law Center


Leonard Rubenstein is a lawyer who has spent his career in human rights, and now focuses particularly on health and human rights, especially the protection of health in armed conflict,  and the roles of health professionals in human rights. At Johns Hopkins he is core faculty of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights and the Berman Institute of Bioethics. Prior to coming to Johns Hopkins he served as Executive Director and then President of Physicians for Human Rights, as a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, and as Executive Director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. 

Mr. Rubenstein’s current work includes advancing protection of health facilities, patients, and health workers in situations of conflict, developing a screening tool to identify survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in refugee settings, and exploring ethical responsibilities of health professionals to advance human rights.  Mr. Rubenstein founded and chairs the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition

Honors and Awards

2014 Distinguished Service Award, International Health Section, American Public Health Association,

2011 American Public Health Association, Sidel Levy Award for Peace.

2006 Physicians Forum Edward K. Barsky Award for a quarter century of courageous and effective advocacy for human rights throughout the world.

2005 United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, Louis B. Sohn Award for extraordinary service on behalf of human rights.

2003 Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Asian and Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Native American Caucus. Health Care Hero Award.


  • Human rights, right to health, dual loyalty, medical neutrality, armed conflict, post-conflict reconstruction, torture

    Rubenstein, LS  Global Health and Security in the Age of Counter-Terrorism. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 2015;108(2): 49–52


    Rubenstein, LS, A way forward in protecting health services in conflict:  moving beyond the humanitarian paradigm, International Review of the Red Cross, International Review of the Red Cross, 2013;95(890): 331-340


    Rubenstein, LS.  Post-conflict health reconstruction: search for a policy. Disasters. 2011 Mar 4. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.2011.01237


    Rubenstein, LS and Xenakis, SN Roles of CIA Physicians in Enhanced Interrogation and Torture of Detainees, JAMA 2010; 304:569-70


    Rubenstein, LS and Sahloul, MZ, In Syria, Doctors become the Victims, op-ed New York Times, November 19, 2014.

  • Strengthen Mechanisms to Address Attacks on Health Facilities, Health Workers