Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Karen H. Rothenberg, J.D., M.P.A.
MSA SC 3520-14671

Biography:

    Karen H. Rothenberg is a highly motivated and accomplished female community leader, not only does she work hard at improving social policy but she takes action “to educate the next generation of leaders on issues as diverse as public health, homeland security, environmental protection, criminal justice, corporate governance, tobacco control, technology and economic development, and women, leadership and equality.”1  Her desires to make positive social changes have led her to her current position as the Dean and Marjorie Cook Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Law School where she feels comfortable addressing the intersecting issues of medicine, science, and the law.  Dean Rothenberg strives for balance in her objectives; she acts as a strong leader while at the same time investing in her community as an educator and activist for improved social policy with a large working focus on genetic issues, both male and female of all ages.

     “Historically a trailblazer, Dean Rothenberg was a member of the first graduating class of women at Princeton University, where she received both her B.A., magna cum laude, and M.P.A. from the Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (1973).”3  After this enormous accomplishment, Rothenberg went on to earn her Master of Public Affairs degree at Princeton (1974) and later her Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia Law School (UVA) (1979).  She was an Order of the Coif graduate from UVA and started her career in law with the Washington D.C. law firm of Covington and Burling, a nationally established firm.4

    In 1983, Rothenberg resigned from the law firm and accepted an offer to teach law at the University of Maryland Law School.  When the university first recruited Rothenberg, she had a vision in mind to unite her specialty in law with the surrounding healthcare institutions.  She said in an interview about accepting the position, “If I could do something to get all these schools to work together, I might be interested.”5   Rothenberg joined the faculty and was quickly promoted from assistant professor to associate and soon after to full professor, primarily focusing on healthcare issues.  With a motive to educate and make positive changes, Rothenberg quickly found that there was a desire by the student body and the University for a new healthcare program in the law school.  She now takes credit as the founding director of the Law and Healthcare program at the University of Maryland Law School, which is currently ranked number two nationally by U.S. News and World Report.6  As a woman, she also challenges feminine social policy issues that lack egalitarian application.  This motive led Rothenberg to leave the Law and Health Care Program at the University to work at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the Office of Research on Women’s Health from September 1995 to May 1996, a nationally committed organization to the improvement of policy on women’s health.7  Once she returned to her law school, she remained on various national healthcare committees concerned with the ethics and research of genetics and human development, which has moved her to coordinate on legislative approaches for social policy change and testify before Congress.8  She also won the Joseph Healey Health Law Teachers Award from the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics in 1996.

    After teaching in the health care program for nearly seventeen years, the University of Maryland Law School offered Karen Rothenberg the position of Dean in 2000.  Professor C. Christopher Brown, a faculty peer, commented on her new appointment, “a very good choice.  Karen’s very personable and approachable and she’s excellent with people…she also has the ability to bridge the various factions in the faculty…the law school’s reputation is being advanced by its specialty programs and her health law clinic background is a natural fit.”9  As the first female to head the law school in its 185-year history, Rothenberg feels comfortable with leading and improving the law school; she says, “Teaching is about finding what someone is passionate about and giving them the tools they need to realize that…”10  At the time of her appointment, she was “one of about twenty female law school deans in the country.”11 As a female dean, she avidly supports women’s opportunity and encourages their leadership roles.  Dean Rothenberg participates in the law school’s Women, Leadership, and Equality Program where she “supports the mentoring of women law school students to develop the leadership skills for success in public service, the judiciary, law firms, higher education, business and nonprofit organizations.”12  As of 2007 U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Maryland Law School at thirty six in the nation, an improvement from its rank of fifty in 2001, for which Dean Rothenberg is greatly responsible.13

    Today, she considers her role as a community leader important, whereas, she strives for not only the best for her students and faculty but for the improvement of public social policy on a national level as well.  She has written and continues to write numerous and diverse scholarly articles on issues such as “AIDS, women’s health, genetics, right to forego treatment, emergency care, and the new reproductive technologies.”14  Rothenberg has co-edited a book, Women and Prenatal Testing: Facing the Challenges of Genetic Technology, and has been published in several academic journals including Science and Journal of Health Care Law and Policy.

    Next to Rothenberg’s public role as a leader, mentor, and national health advocate, she ardently enjoys her family life.  She says, “I am most proud of my loving family.  With my husband’s patience, love, and support, we have raised two wonderful daughters who share great values and a strong sense of community.”15  For over twenty years, Rothenberg has successfully balanced a career with her family and advocacy for healthcare.  Next to her numerous public achievements, her actions are a testament of her ideals and values which make her an excellent role model to contemporary young women.



Notes:

1.  “Maryland’s Top 100 Women-2006-Karen H. Rothenberg,” Maryland Daily Record. http://www.mddailyrecord.com/events.cfm?fuseaction=eventDetail&eventID=5&winnerID=137&pageContent=winnerBio (Accessed June21, 2007). return to text
2.  Michael Hill, “All the DNA; The Dean of The University of Maryland’s School of Law Says Society Should be Working on Ways to Protect People from Discrimination Base on Genetic Information; QnA—Karen Rothenberg,” The Baltimore Sun. February 7, 2007, final edition. return to text
3.  Karen H. Rothenberg, “Dean Karen Rothenberg Inducted into Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame,” University of Maryland Law School.  http://www.law.umaryland.edu/faculty/krothenberg/deans_message.asp (Accessed June 11, 2007). return to text
4.   Karen H. Rothenberg,  “A Message From Dean Karen Rothenberg,” University of Maryland Law School.  http://www.law.umaryland.edu/faculty/krothenberg/deans_message.asp (Accessed June 11, 2007). return to text
5.  Michael Hill, “A ‘Sense of Obligation’; Blending: The New Dean of the University of Maryland Law School has a History of Bringing Students from Different Departments Together,”  The Baltimore Sun. April 13, 2007. return to text
6.  “Law Specialties: Healthcare Law,” U.S. News and World Report, USNews.com, (Accessed June 22, 2007). return to text
7.  Michael Hill,  “All the DNA; The Dean of The University of Maryland’s School of Law Says Society Should be Working on Ways to Protect People from Discrimination Base on Genetic Information; QnA—Karen Rothenberg,” The Baltimore Sun. February 7, 2007, final edition. return to text
8.  “Protecting Workers from Genetic Discrimination,” Testimony of Karen H. Rothenberg, JD, MPA, Presented before the House Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.  January 30, 2007. http://www.geneticalliance.org/ksc_assets/publicpolicy/hr493hearingrothenbergtestimony.pdf (Accessed June 21, 2007). return to text
9.  Joe Surkiewicz,  Undocumented title, The Daily Record (Baltimore, MD). April 7, 2000. return to text
10.  Michael Hill, “A ‘Sense of Obligation’; Blending: The New Dean of the University of Maryland Law School has a History of Bringing Students from Different Departments Together,” The Baltimore Sun. April 13, 2007. return to text
11.  Ibid. rerturn to text
12. “Maryland’s Top 100 Women-2006-Karen H. Rothenberg,” Maryland Daily Record.  return to texthttp://www.mddailyrecord.com/events.cfm?fuseaction=eventDetail&eventID=5&winnerID=137&pageContent=winnerBio (Accessed June21, 2007). return to text
13.  “Top Law Schools,” U.S. News and World Report, USNews.com (Accessed June 22, 2007). return to text
14.  “Karen H. Rothenberg-Profile-University of Maryland Law School,” University of Maryland Law School.  http://www.law.umaryland.edu/faculty_profile.asp?facultynum=103 (Accessed March 7, 2007).  return to text
15.  “Maryland’s Top 100 Women-2006-Karen H. Rothenberg,” Maryland Daily Record. http://www.mddailyrecord.com/events.cfm?fuseaction=eventDetail&eventID=5&winnerID=137&pageContent=winnerBio (Accessed June21, 2007). return to text



Written by Jenette Parish, Summer Intern 2007.
 

Return to Karen H. Rothenberg's Introductory Page
 
 
 
 


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