June 21, 2022

Congratulations to Steve Joffe on his appointment to Chair of MEHP

Read the official communication from the office of the EVP/DEAN:

It is with great pride that we announce the appointment of Steven Joffe, MD, MPH, as Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy (MEHP) at the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) to succeed Dr. Emanuel. Dr. Joffe was selected following national search process that was led by Judith Long, MD. We thank Dr. Long and the entire search committee for their thoughtful and thorough work.

For the past three years, Dr. Joffe admirably served as the Interim Chair for MEHP, helping to guide the Department through leadership and administrative transitions and in the midst of a global pandemic and public health crisis. He is recognized within the Department and across our institution for his extensive expertise, collaborative spirit, respect for and support of all members of our community, and steadfast commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are fortunate that Dr. Joffe is taking on this leadership position.

Dr. Joffe is currently Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics, the Art and Ilene Penn Professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, and a Professor of Pediatrics. He attended Harvard College graduating with an AB in Fine Art (Art History), received his medical degree from the University of California at San Francisco, and received his public health degree from UC Berkeley. He trained in pediatrics at UCSF and completed his fellowship training in pediatric hematology/oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital. He followed his clinical training with postdoctoral research with Dr. Jane Weeks, developing what remains the most widely used measure of participant understanding as an outcome of the clinical trial informed consent process. Simultaneously, he undertook advanced training in bioethics through the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School and the Center for Ethics and the Professions (now the Safra Center) at Harvard University.

After serving as an attending pediatric oncologist, specializing in bone marrow transplantation, as the Dana-Farber Hospital Ethicist, and as the Director of the Ethics Program within Harvard’s Clinical & Translational Science Center, Dr. Joffe was recruited to Penn in 2013 to become Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics within MEHP. Highly collaborative, Dr. Joffe has established and strengthened partnerships across campus. He is the Director of the Penn Fellowship in Advanced Biomedical Ethics and the Penn Postdoctoral Training Program in the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) of Genetics and Genomics (including an NHGRI-funded T32 in ELSI research that is the second of its kind in the country and that was recently renewed). He serves as a member of the Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccine Data and Safety Monitoring Board and recently completed a term as Chair of the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Genomics and Society Working Group. He also co-directs the Cancer Control Program within the Abramson Cancer Center. In addition to serving on a number of School-wide committees, Dr. Joffe continues to contribute thoughtfully to the PSOM Portrait Review Committee, which works to ensure that excellence in our community is visually represented in a way that embraces diversity, teamwork and collaboration.

Dr. Joffe is a highly committed and involved mentor, and prioritizes supporting junior faculty, fellows, and students alike. As one colleague noted, underscoring Dr. Joffe’s leadership: he embodies the principle of serving those he leads…with integrity and mutual respect.

A world-renowned bioethicist, Dr. Joffe's research addresses the many ethical challenges that arise in the conduct of clinical and translational investigation. He has led NIH-, PCORI- and foundation-funded projects to study the roles and responsibilities of principal investigators in multicenter randomized trials, accountability in the clinical research enterprise, children’s capacity to engage in research decisions, return of individual genetic results to participants in epidemiologic cohort studies, the integration of whole-exome sequencing technologies into the clinical care of cancer patients, strategies for diagnosis of germline risk among young adults with cancer, and the nature and challenges of learning health systems. He has coauthored over 200 articles addressing these topics.

We would also like to take this opportunity to again thank Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD, founding Chair of the Department, and all members of MEHP for the many years of his leadership and catalyzing growth in scholarship, reputation, and service. Under Dr. Emanuel’s tenure, the Department saw its sponsored research expenditures grow from $1.1M to $12.1M, and its number of primary faculty increased from five to 22. Today, the Department has expanded to consist of two divisions (Medical Ethics and Health Policy), one institute (Healthcare Transformation Institute), one center (the administrative home for the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics), and three Masters programs (Master of Bioethics, Master of Science in Medical Ethics, and Master of Healthcare Innovation). The Department has made long-lasting contributions nationally and internationally, and at this transition we thank Dr. Emanuel for his service and look forward to continued success with Dr. Joffe’s leadership.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Joffe on his appointment.

J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD
Jon Epstein, MD

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