Visiting Professors

Sally Lehrman, Science & Justice Professor

Oakes College Faculty Services

1156 High Street

University of California

Santa Cruz, CA 95064


Sally Lehrman is the first Visiting Professor in the Science & Justice Training Program. She is an award-winning reporter and writer specializing in medicine and science policy with an emphasis on genetics, race, and sexuality. Lehrman has written for some of the most respected names in national print and broadcast media including Scientific American, Nature, Health,, and The DNA Files, distributed by NPR. As a senior fellow at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, she also directs the Executive Roundtable on Digital Journalism Ethics initiative. The roundtable brings together journalism executives and entrepreneurs to discuss the responsibilities of the news media to accuracy, inclusion, transparency and accountability in the digital public square.

Lehrman is currently working on Skin Deep: The Search for Race in Our Genes, a book about the quest to address health disparities through biomedical technology, under contract for Oxford University Press. Some of her articles on science and society can be found at BestWrit and her opinion pieces, here at BestWrit/Opinion.

Lehrman’s journalism honors include the 1995-96 John S. Knight Fellowship; a 2002 Peabody award, Peabody/Robert Wood Johnson Award for excellence in health and medical programming, and Columbia/Du Pont Silver Baton (shared for the DNA Files); and reporting and writing awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and other organizations. She is author of News in a New America, a fresh take on developing an inclusive U.S. news media, and two chapters for textbooks on covering the sciences. Lehrman served as national diversity chair for the Society of Professional Journalists for a decade and is active in several organizations that promote diversity in the media. Her volunteer work in this area has been recognized by the SPJ Wells Key and other awards.

Over the last few years, Professor Lehrman has provided the faculty and students of the Science & Justice Training Program with invaluable training by leading workshops on how to write effective opinion pieces. These are now yielding published work. Her training and support played a large role in the appearance of an article written by Science & Justice Director, Jenny Reardon, featured prominently in the SF Chronicle’s Sunday magazine. The op-ed has influenced broader national and international discussions on science and justice.

Professor Lehrman often speaks with the Science & Justice Working Group about responsibility in investigative journalism and how it relates to questions of responsibility in science. Lehrman is especially interested in matters of justice and inclusion in journalism and science, and is working with Science and Justice to think about how science and journalism can intersect towards the idea of justice.

Lehrman was the Knight Ridder Professor in Journalism and the Public Interest at Santa Clara University from 2008 to 2013. She serves as a director on the board of SDX Foundation, which funds journalism education efforts, was a USC Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism Senior Fellow on race, and directs The Trust Project, a consortium of top news companies developing transparency standards that help you easily assess the quality and credibility of journalism.