Reuben C. Warren, DDS, MPH, DrPH, MDiv

Director, National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care 

Dr. Reuben C. Warren earned his undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University, and his dental degree from Meharry Medical College. He also earned his MPH and PhD from the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center. 

He is currently the Director of the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care and Professor of Bioethics at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. From 1988-1997, Dr. Warren served as Associate Director for Minority Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Interview Transcript (pdf)

“My interest in dentistry really was trying to resond to unnecessary suffering, not life or death…People are really attentive about life or death situations, but suffering is something that’s overlooked, so I really felt that I wanted to do something to reduce the suffering in populations who I viewed were suffering the most, including me.”

“Meharry chose me…in being at Meharry, I understood that dentistry was a small picture. The bigger picture was community oral health.”

“I realized at my time at Meharry that one-on-one, one patient at a time was not going to do it. So I looked for a way to engage in population health, and that brought me into formal education in public health.”

“Oral health needs are met after systemic health needs are met; so you just can’t go directly to oral health without going through the whole gamut of health concerns.”

“Upon graduating from Harvard School of Public Health and finishing the residency, I joined the faculty of the University of Lagos, a relatively new dental school. It was part of the medical school.”

“I was able to look at the foundation for people to have hope when hope seemed hopeless and to have faith when faith seemed impossible, and it was very inspiring…It helped to broaden my description of health…I understood from my seminary and other limited experience that spirituality is a critical part of health – not religion, per se, but spirituality.”

“We need to rethink what health is and spend less time defining it and more time describing it and then design strategies based upon that broadened description of health.”

“Perfection is always the goal, and you can’t lose sight of what you think perfection ought to be, and in the midst of disaster, despair, it gets muddled, and if you lose that vision, you become part of the problem as opposed to part of its resolve.”

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