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June 3, 2008     

Robert S. Lawrence Named Inaugural Center for a Livable Future Professor

lawrenceRobert S. Lawrence, MD

Robert S. Lawrence, MD, professor and founder of the Center for a Livable Future, was named the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s inaugural Center for a Livable Future Professor. A formal installation ceremony was held at the Bloomberg School on June 3, 2008.

“We are very fortunate to have Bob as a member of our School’s community. He has served as an advisor and friend to many of us,” said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Endowed professorships honor distinguished faculty—and in this case a Center—while ensuring that their contributions and passions are supported and sustained in perpetuity. This is particularly important in the context of the Center for a Livable Future, which, as a global resource, develops and promotes policies for the protection of health, the global environment and our ability to sustain life for future generations.”

Lawrence is the founding director of the Center for a Livable Future, which was established in 1996 to conduct interdisciplinary studies on the impact of industrial agriculture on food systems, equity, human health, the environment, and inequities in food security. Under Lawrence’s leadership, the Center examines the relationships between diet, food production, the environment and human health through research, education and advocacy.

In addition to his leadership of the Center for a Livable Future, Lawrence directed the School’s Health and Human Rights Certificate Program, served as associate dean for Professional Practice and Programs, and was the inaugural Edyth Schoenrich Professor in Preventive Medicine. He holds appointments as professor in the Bloomberg School’s departments of Environmental Health Sciences and International Health, as well as in the Department of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Before joining the School, Lawrence helped found the organization Physicians for Human Rights in 1986 and has taken part in many humanitarian missions to investigate cases of torture, death and human rights abuses. Lawrence currently serves as chair of the group’s Board of Directors and twice served as the organization’s president. In 1997, Physicians for Human Rights shared the Nobel Peace Prize for its work to ban anti-personnel land mines.

Lawrence previously served as an epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Public Health Service. In the early 1970s, Lawrence worked to establish a comprehensive health care system in the rural south.

In 1978, Lawrence was elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. In 1998 he was elected a Master of the American College of Physicians and he was awarded the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 2002 for his lifelong efforts to improve health care, human rights and the environment.

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