Director, Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life

Ruth Gaare Bernheim

Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH, who has been the associate director of the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life since it was established in 2000, is the director of the Division of Public Health Policy and Practice and the Master of Public

Expand Full Bio +

Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH, who has been the associate director of the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life since it was established in 2000, is the director of the Division of Public Health Policy and Practice and the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program in the School of Medicine.  Her professional and academic interests are ethics, policy and law, and she teaches courses in the medical school, law school, and college on public health law and policy, as well as works on numerous public health projects at the local, state, and national level.  Her academic interest at the IPE also includes developing courses and programs that integrate practical ethics into professional and undergraduate education. She led the efforts to establish and now directs two new programs that feature ethics: IPE’s Interprofessional Values Seminars, which bring together graduate and professional students from across the University to explore professional ethics through literature and film; and the Global Public Health Undergraduate Minor, which requires a capstone course on ethics and health policy.

Ms. Gaare Bernheim currently serves on the national Board of the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR) and on the Governing Board of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. She is active in a number of national education initiatives, including the APTR’s Program on Undergraduate Public Health Education and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Curriculum on Public Health Law (currently under development).  At the July 2008 conference, The Educated Citizen and Public Health: An Undergraduate Curriculum Development Institute, Ms. Gaare Bernheim led a workshop on Health Policy and Ethics.  Ms. Gaare Bernheim is also active in professional workforce education.  As co-director of ethics for the Public Health Leadership Society, she works with public health leaders in practice across the country in developing educational modules and making presentations on the new Public Health Code of Ethics, including at CDC conferences. In addition, she was a faculty consultant on the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH)’s Model Curriculum on Public Health Ethics, and previous Chair of the Ethics Section SPIG of the American Public Health Association (APHA). She currently serves on Virginia’s State Pandemic Flu Advisory Board and the Thomas Jefferson Health District’s community health assessment committee.

Ms. Gaare Bernheim previously was on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins Bioethics Institute, where her projects included a Robert Wood Johnson-funded grant with the Maryland Attorney General's Office on End-of-Life Care and a PEW-funded grant on Managed Care and Public Health. She also served on the Johns Hopkins Hospital Ethics Committee and the Johns Hopkins Health Care Scientific and Benefits Assessment Committee.

Her education includes a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law; a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; certificates in mediation from Boston University and Harvard School of Public Health; and coursework as a Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics.

She has served on the hospital ethics committees at the both the University of Maryland Hospital and at Johns Hopkins, where she headed its subcommittee on organizational ethics. During her time at Hopkins, she participated in numerous continuing education and in-service workshops for hospital ethics committees and ethics consultants in the Maryland region.

Recent publications include:

  • Thomas JC and Bernheim, RG, Code of Ethics for Public Health, Encyclopedia of Public Health, Elsevier, Inc. Forthcoming in 2008
  • Principled Leadership in Public Health:  Integrating Ethics into Public Health Practice, Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 2008, 14(4), 358-366
  • Childress JF, Bernheim RG  Public Health Ethics:  Public Justification and Public Trust, Bundesgesundheitsbl-Gesundheitsforsch-Gesundheitsschutz 2 2008
  • Bernheim, RG, Ethics in Public Health Practice and Management, Novick et al eds.Public Health Administration 2d ed, Jones and Bartlett, 2007
  • Gaare-Bernheim,R, Neiburg P, Bonnie R.  Ethics and the Practice of Public Health.  Goodman et al eds. Law in Public Health Practice. Oxford University Press, 2002, 2007
  • Childress J F, Bernheim, R G, Beyond the Liberal and Communitarian Impasse:  A Framework and Vision for Public Health, Florida Law Review, 55:5 (December 2003): 1191-1219
  • Bernheim  RG, Public Health Ethics: The Voices of Practitioners. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Special Supplement to Vol 31:4 (Winter 2003) 104-109.

P.O. Box 400800
2400 Old Ivy Road
Charlottesville, Va 22904-4800