Dear colleagues,

I am writing today with sad news. Professor Michael Grodin, Professor Emeritus of Health Law, Ethics and Human Rights, has died.

Professor Grodin is a much-admired member of our community and among the most distinguished scholars in our field. He has been a member of our BU community for over 40 years, long serving as one of the pillars of our health law group. As a professor of health law, ethics and human rights at SPH in the Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights, he received the two highest awards granted to faculty, the Career Research and Scholarship Award and the Norman A. Scotch Award for Excellence in Teaching. During his time at BU, Professor Grodin also served as professor of psychiatry and family medicine at the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, where he cofounded the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights, chaired the IRB at what was then Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center), served as the Hospital’s Medical Ethicist, and taught the medical ethics course to first year students for more than 2 decades. He did extensive clinical work with victims of torture, integrating traditional and Western modes of treatment for his Tibetan monk patients. He was also the director of the Project on Ethics and the Holocaust at the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, and  a professor of Jewish studies and a member of the Division of Religious Studies of the College of Arts and Sciences. Professor Grodin was long one of the most distinguished global experts on medicine and the Holocaust, coauthoring The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code, and a leading textbook on Health and Human Rights in a Changing World. He was beloved by both his students and his patients.

We will be in touch with plans for fully celebrating Michael’s legacy. In the meantime, on Monday at noon, we will hold an informal gathering in the Founders Room and on Zoom for anyone who would like to be together in memory of Professor Grodin. FSAO may also be reached confidentially via telephone at 617-353-5381 or via email at Also, Reverend Robert Hill at Marsh Chapel is standing by for anyone who wishes to talk to him; he may be reached at 617-353-3560.

On a personal note, when I think of Michael, “conscience” is the word that comes to mind. I have long looked to him for counsel on some of the trickiest issues that have emerged during my time at SPH. He has always offered wise advice that has been invaluable to my thinking and to our functioning as a school. I have admired him for his integrity and for the moral clarity of his thinking. In losing him, the school has lost one of its wisest members.

Our thoughts are with Michael’s family, in particular, his wife Nancy and his children Josh and Leah, and the many colleagues, at our school, on our campus, and throughout the world, who have worked closely with Michael for so many decades.

With warmth and sadness,


Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH
Dean, Robert A Knox Professor

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