Board of Trustees elects pioneering leader of humanism in medical education and urban bioethics to succeed Richard I. Levin, MD
Kathleen Reeves, MD, FAAP, a visionary leader in urban bioethics, compassionate pediatrician, exemplar in humanism, and groundbreaking medical educator at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, will become the next President & CEO of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. Her appointment concludes a national search that began after Richard I. Levin, MD, announced that he was retiring after a remarkable 12-year tenure leading the nonprofit organization.
In a letter to the Gold community, Chairman Richard C. Sheerr and Trustee and Secretary Dr. Wayne J. Riley, who also chaired the Presidential Search Committee, wrote: “Our search focused on finding a true humanist with deep expertise in healthcare, with innovative ideas and the courage necessary in our challenging times, and with proven success in sustaining high-impact initiatives through funding and collaboration. In Dr. Reeves, we believe we have found a leader rooted in our values of humanism who can guide the Gold Foundation to its next chapter of even greater growth and impact.”
Dr. Reeves has spent the past 20 years of her career at the Katz School of Medicine, where she has served in multiple leadership roles, including Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs and inaugural Senior Associate Dean for the Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. She is currently Director, Center for Urban Bioethics; Professor and Chair, Department of Urban Health and Population Science; and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics.
Her new position at the Gold Foundation follows Dr. Reeves’ lifelong path of advocating for humanistic care, expanding her reach from the Philadelphia region to the nonprofit’s global network.
“I’m very excited to lead the Gold Foundation, an organization that has already brought so much needed change to healthcare education and practice,” said Dr. Reeves. “Humanism has been shown to improve health and healthcare outcomes; it is evidence based. We know a healthcare environment centered in humanism creates greater health for communities, builds a sense of well-being for clinicians, and develops higher-functioning systems within education and care delivery. Humanism is one of the most underutilized tools in our toolbox, and it is time we leverage the strength of humanism more fully throughout healthcare.”
Dr. Reeves has been connected to the Gold Foundation and its mission for more than a decade. In 2013, she was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society as a faculty member, and she has served as the GHHS Chapter Advisor at the Katz School of Medicine. In 2018, she was named an Honorable Mention in the Gold Foundation’s prestigious Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz Humanism in Healthcare Award.
“Dr. Reeves is a leader of American medicine, who through her creative and unique work in urban healthcare has put into humanistic practice the key elements of the Gold Foundation’s mission,” said Dr. Levin, who has served as President and CEO since 2012. “She is a wonderful choice who I am confident will add new, strategic successes to the Gold Foundation’s 35-year history as the national champion of humanism in healthcare.”
Dr. Reeves is the Founding Director of the Center for Urban Bioethics, which was established in 2010 as a pioneer in its field and has grown to a staff of more than 50 interdisciplinary educators, researchers, program staff, and outreach workers. During Dr. Reeves’ time as Director, the Center for Urban Bioethics created the first and only master’s degree in Urban Bioethics in the country.
“Urban bioethics” refers to spaces with higher density, diversity, and disparities, as well as the context around how disparities arise, reflecting the center’s belief that health disparities are fundamentally unethical.
“I would like us to reexamine how we define humanism,” said Dr. Reeves. “It is absolutely about the patient-clinician relationship. It’s also about how a health system interacts with the community in which it sits. And it requires great attention to racial justice, social justice, and a patient’s and a community’s generational context.”
At the Center for Urban Bioethics at Temple, Dr. Reeves created research cores centered on violence prevention, trauma-informed programming, substance use disorder treatment and prevention, ethical approaches to food insecurity, maternal health equity, and the role of mobile healthcare delivery in health equity. She has always taken a wide perspective to health and its factors, and the Gold Foundation will allow her to broaden the work even further.
While Dr. Reeves has worked in urban Philadelphia for decades, her roots are in rural Pennsylvania, in the middle of the state, where her family still lives. Dr. Reeves will maintain her connection with Temple, including occasional weeks caring for patients as a pediatric hospitalist. She will also continue as a faculty member in the Department of Urban Health and Population Science and in the Center for Urban Bioethics.
“I’m so very grateful for my time at Temple. The people there are amazing and the support I have received has been instrumental to who I am today. I’m pleased to be able to stay connected to Temple and all the stellar work that’s being done there around education, research, and clinical care,” said Dr. Reeves.
Dr. Reeves earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Juniata College, graduated from the Sidney Kimmel College of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, and completed her Pediatric Residency at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She is board-certified in both General Pediatrics and Pediatric Hospital Medicine.
Her many awards include Temple University’s Outstanding Faculty Award, Lewis Katz School of Medicine’s Women in Medicine Mentoring Award and Teaching Excellence Award, AOA Faculty Inductee, and Finalist for the Parker J. Palmer Award from ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education). She has also served on numerous AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) committees and was appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s School Safety and Security Committee.
“I’m very excited to start this next journey,” said Dr. Reeves. “I can think of no better job than to work with other like-minded people to bring humanism more and more to the center of healthcare.”
Read the letter from the Trustees to the Gold community announcing Dr. Reeves’ selection.