At the University of Minnesota, Kahn was an associate and then full professor in the Department of Medicine, where he held the Maas Family Endowed Chair in Bioethics. He held additional faculty appointments in the Philosophy Department, Clinical Research Graduate Program, School of Public Health, and Institute of Public Affairs, and he was a faculty fellow in the law school. During his 15-year tenure leading Minnesota’s Center for Bioethics, he founded the Association of Bioethics Program Directors, serving as its inaugural president from 2006 to 2010. He is also an elected fellow of the Hastings Center.
Kahn is a renowned leader in bioethics whose work explores the intersection of ethics and health and science policy, including human and animal research ethics, public health, and ethical issues in emerging biomedical technologies. During his more than 25-year career, he has been consistently funded to carry out groundbreaking interdisciplinary bioethics research. Most recently, the NIH awarded him and co-principal investigator Gail Geller a four-year, $4.15 million award to launch a Center of Excellence in Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Genomic Uses in Infectious Diseases and Epidemics.
Kahn has served on numerous state and federal advisory panels. He is currently chair of the National Academy of Medicine’s Board on Health Sciences Policy. He previously chaired the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Use of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research, the Committee on Ethics Principles and Guidelines for Health Standards for Long Duration and Exploration Spaceflights, and the Committee on Ethical and Social Implications of Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques. He also served on the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee.
He has published more than 115 articles in the bioethics and medical literature and is the co-author of Contemporary Issues in Bioethics and Beyond Consent: Seeking Justice in Research. He speaks widely around the world on a range of bioethics topics, in addition to frequent media outreach. From 1998 to 2002, he penned the biweekly “Ethics Matters” column on CNN.com.
Kahn has been engaged in numerous activities across Johns Hopkins. He is chair of the Public Interest Investment Advisory Committee, he co-chaired search committees for a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and the Bunting Professor in Clinical Ethics in the School of Nursing, and he has served on university-wide faculty advisory committees on digital education and MOOCs.