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CLF Director Announces Plans to Step Down

May 22, 2014

Center for a Livable Future (CLF) Director Robert S. Lawrence, MD, recently announced his retirement plans to staff and faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Bob, 76, is viewed as a pioneer in advancing the understanding of the many connections between the food system and public health. Recruited to the School by Dean Emeritus Al Sommer in 1995 to serve as Associate Dean for Professional Education and Programs and Professor of Health Policy and Management, Bob established the CLF in April 1996. His vision was to explore the impact of industrial agriculture on the environment and the food supply and, through changes in environmental exposures and an increasingly unhealthy diet, on human health. His thinking about the food system and human health developed during his time as Director of Health Sciences for the Rockefeller Foundation from 1991-95 when he worked closely with colleagues directing Agricultural Sciences and Environmental Sciences.

Bob stepped down as Associate Dean in 2006 to serve full-time as CLF Director and a member of the faculty in Environmental Health Sciences, with joint appointments in Health Policy and Management and Medicine. Under his leadership the CLF has grown to a staff of 25 and currently supports 16 doctoral students in six departments through the CLF-Lerner Fellowship program. Through research, education, policy development, outreach, and advocacy the CLF is working  “to advance an ecological perspective in reducing threats to the health of the public and to promote policies that protect health, the global environment and the ability to sustain life for future generations.” As one of the six co-founders of Physicians for Human Rights in 1984 Bob has always applied a human rights perspective to clinical care and public health. His vision for the CLF is that it continues to be an active force for improving food security and fulfilling the right to food for all people.

“Bob Lawrence is a visionary who, through the CLF, has created an academic center to promote research and communicate information regarding the complex interrelationships among food production, diet, environment and health,” said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

As to his future plans, Bob said, “I will remain engaged in the work of the CLF, especially its educational programs, while staying out of my successor’s hair, perhaps paying a bit more attention to sustainable food issues in Maine, tending my own garden in Rockport, and reestablishing my beehives.”

The review of applications for the CLF Director has begun and will continue until the position is filled. Interested applicants can review the description of the position here, and apply by submitting a statement of interest, curriculum vitae and names of three references to CLFSEARC@JHSPH.EDU, with the subject line “CLF Director Search.”

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future media contact: Natalie Wood-Wright at 443-824-1371 or