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Leonard Rubenstein

Leonard Rubenstein is a lawyer whose work focuses on health and human rights, especially the protection of health in armed conflict and the roles of health professionals in human rights. A core member of the Berman Institute of Bioethics,  he has a joint appointment in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he is Director of the Program on Human Rights, Health and Conflict, at the Center for Public Health and Human Rights.

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 identifying sound policy approaches to health systems reconstruction or strengthening in fragile states.

In the realm of health professionals and human rights, Mr. Rubenstein led an International Working Group on Dual Loyalty and Human Rights, has investigated the role of U.S. health professionals in torture by military and intelligence agencies, and co-leads a task force to recommend changes in U.S. practice. He has served as Chair of the Health and Peacebuilding Working Group at the United States Institute of Peace.  Mr. Rubenstein has been a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility and serves on the board of directors of the International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organizations. He chairs the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition. In 2011, Mr. Rubenstein received the Sidel-Levy Award for Peace from the American Public Health Association.


BA, Wesleyan University
JD, Harvard University

Recent Publications:

Rubenstein, LS, Allen, SA, Guze, PA. Advancing Medical Professionalism in US Military Detainee Treatment, PLOS Medicine 2016.

Rubenstein, LS. Punishing Health Care Providers for Treating Terrorists, Hastings Center Report 2015;45, no. 4: 13-16.

Rubenstein, LS. Global health and security in the age of counterterrorismJ. Royal Soc. Med. 2015;108(2):49-52

Eckenwiler L, Hunt M, Ahmad A, Calain P, Dawson A, Goodin R, Messelken D, Rubenstein L& Verina Wild. Counterterrorism policies and practices: health and values at stake. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2015; 93:737-738.

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

Rubenstein, L. S. (2014).  A way forward in protecting health services in conflict:  moving beyond the humanitarian paradigmInternational Review of the Red Cross, 2014 95 (890), 331-340.

Task Force on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention, Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror, Institute on Medicine as a Profession, 2013.