Dedication of the Laurie Schwab Zabin Conference Room Honors Gates Institute Founding Director

Laurie Schwab Zabin Conference Room Dedication - April 13, 2017

On Thursday, April 13, the Gates Institute and the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health (PFRH) celebrated the dedication of the Laurie Schwab Zabin Conference Room, Room W4517 in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Zabin is the founding director of the Gates Institute and professor emeritus in the PFRH department. Her groundbreaking research into adolescent sexual and reproductive health has had far-reaching impact, as has her establishment of the Gates Institute in 1999. 

The dedication ceremony began with a formal program in W5030, where Zabin's colleagues and friends spoke about her impact on the reproductive health and population dynamics fields. Speakers included:

  • Cynthia Minkovitz, chair of the PFRH department
  • Robert Blum (via video message), immediate past chair of the PFRH department and director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute 
  • Henry Mosley, professor emeritus and former chair of the PFRH department, and former co-director (with Zabin) of the Gates Institute
  • Amy Tsui, professor in the PFRH department and former director of the Gates Institute, who described Zabin with four words: "caring, commitment, courage, and creativity"
  • PFRH doctoral students Ann Herbert and Suzanne Bell, recipients of the Fund in Recognition of Laurie Schwab Zabin

The program concluded with remarks from Zabin herself. 

All then proceeded to W4517 to enjoy lunch and admire the new conference room, which features a display of some of Zabin's many awards and a commemorative plaque, with these words:

Laurie Schwab Zabin, PhD, has dedicated her professional life to protecting sexual and reproductive health, especially that of adolescents. 

In the 1950s, after family planning pioneer Alan F. Guttmacher delivered her first child and spoke to her of family planning, Zabin began volunteering with Planned Parenthood and later became director of the Maryland chapter. In 1974, when others usually wind down their careers, Zabin launched her second one, beginning a PhD in Population Dynamics (now Population, Family and Reproductive Health) at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health (now the Bloomberg School). 

After graduating in 1979, Zabin was jointly appointed to Gynecology-Obstetrics in the School of Medicine and Population Dynamics in the School of Public Health. Her pioneering research on teen pregnancy, abortion and sexual attitudes and behavior among adolescents in the United States and abroad established her international reputation. She provided legal testimony in many cases supporting adolescent access to family planning services and helped found and served on the board of the Guttmacher Institute.

In 1998, Zabin developed the initial proposal for the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gates Institute was established in 1999 with the mission of “Scholarship and Science for Social Change.” As founding director, Zabin guided the Gates Institute in advancing family planning and reproductive health in the developing world, through establishing leadership programs, supporting research and translating evidence into policies and practice.

Zabin’s many awards and honors include the Planned Parenthood of Maryland’s Margaret Sanger Award and Lifetime Achievement Award. She received the Irvin M. Cushner Award of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association and the Carl S. Shultz Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Public Health Association (APHA), in addition to awards from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the ACLU and others. Johns Hopkins has recognized her in several ways, establishing a scholarship fund for population and reproductive health students in her honor, presenting her with the 2013 Johns Hopkins University Heritage Award and awarding her an honorary doctorate at 2016 Commencement.

Zabin’s intellectual rigor, principled advocacy and humanitarian spirit serve as a guiding force within the Gates Institute and the Johns Hopkins community.

Friday, April 21, 2017 - 11:15