Joann Rodgers


Faculty Scholar and Senior Communications Adviser, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics

Joann Ellison Rodgers, an award-winning science journalist, magazine writer, book author and editor, directed Johns Hopkins Medicine's science communications, media relations and public affairs division for 25 years, and currently is a faculty scholar and strategic communications adviser to the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. She joined Johns Hopkins after nearly two decades as an award-winning reporter and columnist for the Hearst Newspapers and magazines. Her awards include a Lasker Award for medical journalism.

A graduate of Boston University (B.S.), where she reported the sports news for public radio station WBUR, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (M.S.), she is a current board member and past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing; past president of the National Association of Science Writers; a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); and one of only a few dozen non-scientist members elected to Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. Her awards also include prizes from the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and the National Council for Medical Research. She was also a columnist and contributor for many years to ScienceWriters, the journal of the National Association of Science Writers, and she served previously on the national boards of the American Heart Association and the Guttmacher Institute. She has been a communications consultant and editor for biotechnology companies, including TheraDoc and GMP, Inc., and written white papers on various topics for the Rockefeller Foundation, the Dubose Foundation and the Abell Foundation. At Hopkins, she participated as a co-investigator in NIH-funded communications research and was a co-author of research reports on news coverage of genetics and public policy, published in Social Science and Medicine, JAMA Online, Genetics in Medicine, and Science Communications. She holds an instructor's appointment at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and is a frequent speaker and international consultant on health care and biomedical science-related media relations, strategic communications planning and institutional crisis communications. She has consulted and lectured at the Karolinska Institute, the University of Bologna, and hospital associations in Germany. The author of seven books, including Sex: A Natural History, (Henry Holt and Company, NY), she has contributed articles on medicine, genetics, risk communications, neuroscience, chemistry, epidemiology, psychology, health care, media relations and other subjects for the New York Times Magazine, Psychology Today, Science Digest, The Los Angeles Times, Encyclopedia Britannica World Book Science Year, CASE Currents, Spectrum, Mosaic, Ladies Home Journal, Parade and other publications. She has covered science in the U.S., Europe, South America, Asia and Antarctica. Her other books include Cancer and You (Chelsea House), Raising Sons (NAL Books), Psychosurgery: Damaging the Brain to Save the Mind (Harper-Collins) and Media Guide for Academics (FACS). She has contributed chapters to books on institutional branding and science communications, and contributed the chapter on institutional crisis communications for the 2nd edition of Field Guide for Science Writers (Oxford University Press, 2006). She also has written monographs on public health issues in Thailand and Costa Rica for the Rockefeller Foundation. She has served as a rapporteur on public communication of biomedical issues for the Dubose Foundation and for the Alta Utah conference on the medical, historical and bioethical aspects of the first artificial heart implant.