crossposted from Rising to the Challenge: The Campaign for Johns Hopkins

 


 

 

How should resources be allocated between HIV treatment for those already infected and finding ways to prevent HIV to avert more illness and death in the long run?

 

This is the sort of thorny question Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, MA – deputy director for medicine of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Harvey “Bud” M. Meyerhoff Professor of Bioethics and Medicine – tackles in his research.

 

And he credits the Meyerhoff Professorship for not only bringing him to Hopkins, but giving him the freedom to take chances in his research and help those who are most vulnerable.

 

“The professorship made it possible to explore things that were a little bit more risky in bioethics. Classically, we need to raise money to do particular projects, and those particular projects are very circumscribed. We can’t always take on a venture, something new, something unusual,” Sugarman explains.

 

“The professorship gave me the opportunity to work with colleagues in the School of Medicine, in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and across the university, on questions of bioethics that otherwise may not be addressed,” he says. Some of these earlier projects involved international HIV prevention trials in border regions of China and Thailand and preventing HIV transmission from mother to child in Uganda.

 

“Previously, I wouldn’t have time to just leave, go on a trip, work with those people, and grapple with some of the ethical issues that people around the globe were facing. Those efforts have subsequently led to long‑standing projects,” Sugarman says. More recent research has also involved the ethics of organ transplants from HIV-positive donors. (Johns Hopkins Medicine performed the world’s first liver transplant from a HIV-positive donor to a HIV-positive patient in 2016.)

 

In addition to what the endowed professorship has allowed in terms of scholarly research, Sugarman says he has also appreciated getting to know Meyerhoff personally.

 

“Bud played a key role in making the Berman Institute what it is today, and I am simpatico with Bud. He demands a lot. I demand a lot. He’s meticulous. I’m meticulous,” says Sugarman, who is also co-chair of the Johns Hopkins Institutional Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee and whose work also addresses the ethics of informed consent, umbilical cord blood banking, and stem cell research.

 

“And I’ve always told Bud that it’s an honor to have his name on my business card for the rest of my life,” he adds.

 


 

To learn how you can make a gift to support the Berman Institute of Bioethics, please contact Andrea Matz.

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