Why Support the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics?
Even though doctors and scientists can do evermore extraordinary things these days, the question remains: should they? As in law and in business, there needs to be a moral foundation to medicine and human subjects research. Both are critical to our health, but they must at all times respect the rights of individuals and seek to avoid doing harm. Since 1995, with the vital support of its many private, corporate and public donors, the Berman Institute has been conducting path-breaking research and training aspiring scholars in these areas, helping to ensure that ethical issues are considered before decisions are made about how health-care is delivered, how scientific and medical research is carried out, and how biomedical innovations are applied.
The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics is one of the largest centers of its kind, comprising over 30 faculty from across the university. They range from physicians to philosophers, through social scientists to lawyers, and have served everyday patients and U.S. presidents alike. The range of expertise on faculty spans the full spectrum of fields where ethical challenges arise in the biomedical sciences, including genetics, stem cell research and other emerging technologies, to broader categories such as public health, clinical research and medical education. But perhaps the most immediate and tangible contribution the faculty make is in teaching the next generation of leaders in bioethics, and in preparing students and trainees for the ethical challenges of professional and civic life.
The institute is now focused on widening the awareness of bioethics within the general public, through thoughtful commentary in news stories, numerous op-ed pieces and other forms of outreach, including the popular Bioethics Bulletin. Because bioethics is ultimately concerned with doing what’s right in the realm of biomedical science and research, it’s really about public health. And that’s important to all of us.