Skip Navigation

Faculty Directory

Leonard S. Rubenstein, JD

  • Professor of the Practice

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

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

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

Center for Pubic Health and Human Rights
Center for Humanitarian Health
Berman Institute of Bioethics

View Current Courses


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, advancing refugee and migrant health and rights, exploring the ethical responsibilities of health professionals to advance human rights including in situations of violent conflict.  Mr. Rubenstein founded and chairs the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition.

Honors and Awards

2015 Syrian American Medical Society, Recognition Award for Work to Increase Protection of Health Workers in Syria,

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
  • armed conflict
  • torture
  • humanitarian ethics
  • refugees and migrants

Selected publications

  • 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, Amon, JJ, McLemore M, Eba P, Dolan K, Lines R, Beyrer, C. HIV, Prisoners and Human Rights. Lancet 2016; 388:1202-1214.
  • Footer KHA, Clouse E, Rayes D, Sahloul Z, Rubenstein LS Qualitative Accounts from Syrian health professionals regarding violations of the right to health, including the use of chemical weapons in opposition-held areas of Syria. BMJ Open 2018: DOI:
  • Rubenstein, LS. Punishing Health Care Providers for Treating Terrorists, Hastings Center Report 2015;45, no. 4: 13-16.
  • 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