Groundbreaking Professorship in Nursing and Bioethics

Johns Hopkins University will dedicate a new endowed professorship, the Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics, believed to be the nation’s first joint professorship in nursing and bioethics.

The ceremony to dedicate the professorship and install the inaugural Bunting Professor, Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, will be Tuesday March 12, 2013 at 4:00 PM in the Alumni Auditorium at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, 525 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205.

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics have jointly established the Bunting Professorship, and Rushton will work collaboratively with faculty and students of both institutions to identify, analyze and attempt to resolve the ethical dilemmas that arise in caring for patients and their families.

Rushton has been with Johns Hopkins for over 20 years, beginning as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Ethics in 1991.  She was appointed the first Chair of the Maryland State Council of Quality Care at the End of Life and has been recognized as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women.  In addition to her faculty appointments in the School of Nursing and the Berman Institute since 1995, Rushton has been program director of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Harriet Lane Compassionate Care program since 2000.

“We are at a critical juncture in healthcare; the ethical issues that impact patients, their families and clinicians must become part of the national dialogue in order to illuminate ethically sound solutions and cultivate environments where integrity is preserved,” Rushton says. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have this rare opportunity to engage and explore the ethical foundations of nursing in a new and strategic way.”

George L. Bunting is a long-time member of the Berman Institute’s advisory board and a philanthropic supporter of the university. He served as Chairman of Johns Hopkins Health System and Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1994 – 1998 as well as Johns Hopkins Medicine from 1996 – 1998.   Bunting has been integral to the Berman Institute’s growth into one of the world’s largest and most respected centers of bioethics.

“The Berman Institute is absolutely committed to approaching the ethical challenges of clinical practice from an interdisciplinary perspective, and no health professionals are more experienced than nurses in confronting these challenges,” says Ruth R. Faden, director of the Berman Institute.  “The Bunting Professorship is an important addition to our institute, and we are thrilled to have Dr. Rushton, already a valuable member of our faculty, as the inaugural Bunting Professor

Martha N. Hill, dean of the School of Nursing, notes, “This joint, endowed professorship highlights the increasingly important interprofessional role of nursing and bioethics. Dr. Rushton brings to the professorship the expert nursing perspective that is essential to today’s bioethics scholarship and debate and will be required in shaping tomorrow’s healthcare policies.”

Feeding The World Fairly

December 18, 2012

A Stavros Niarchos Foundation grant will fund planning by a multidisciplinary group of scholars at Johns Hopkins University for an ethical framework to address food shortages and maldistribution.

Fair access to good food is a challenge as old as civilization, and failing to meet it contributed to the fall of the French monarchy (‘let them eat cake’), Babylon, Athens and the Roman Empire. As the global populace climbs toward an expected nine billion by 2050, an $800,000 grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will fund collaborative work by three divisions of Johns Hopkins University to develop ethical guidelines to help meet the challenge in our day.

“There is something profoundly wrong about a world in which nearly two billion people are undernourished while another two billion people are overweight,” says Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.  Faden will jointly lead the project along with Alan Goldberg, PhD, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Robert Thompson, PhD, of Johns Hopkins’ Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.  Yashar Saghai, a post-doctoral fellow at the Berman Institute, will be project director.

“This collaboration among Johns Hopkins institutions will examine one of the fundamental obstacles to achieving global food security: profound disagreement about what it means to feed the world ethically,” Faden says.

The project leaders will recruit diverse experts and stakeholders from around the world to characterize differences in ethical assumptions and aims, and to search for moral common ground, Faden says. Participants will include those involved in high and low yield farming, agricultural technology and the welfare of animals, the environment and workers.

“We expect that there will be negotiation and conflict among competing interests, but all the players need to be at the table,” says Thompson. A working, weeklong conference is planned for 2014.

“The goal of this meeting is to produce a document of shared moral principles or commitments that will provide the understanding of the basic issues that must be included to identify fair or ethical food guidelines,” says Goldberg.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation funds diverse non-profit organizations and projects around the world that have the potential for broad, lasting and positive social impact, according to the foundation. In the 1930s, Niarchos expanded his family’s grain business by thinking globally, buying the ships that transported wheat.

“Mark Twain wrote that hunger is the handmaid of genius; I do believe that if we bring committed people together and treat these issues with the gravity they deserve, we will find a way to narrow what are now broad differences of opinion on a profoundly important question: how to feed everyone, ethically. It is doable,” Faden says.


Media Contact: Leah Ramsay 202.642.9640