John Monahan

John Monahan

Leadership & Administration

Interim Dean


John T. Monahan, JD, is interim dean at the School of Nursing & Health Studies and senior advisor to Georgetown University’s President. A Georgetown community member for many years, he holds Georgetown academic appointments as Professor of Medicine, Senior Lecturer at Georgetown Law, and Senior Fellow at the School of Public Policy, and has taught courses at NHS, Georgetown Law, and the School of Foreign Service.

Over the course of his professional career, the core of Monahan’s work has focused on addressing complex health and social service programs affecting vulnerable populations in the United States and internationally.  

Monahan has served in multiple leadership roles with the federal government in all three branches, and has been engaged in high-level philanthropy, academia and politics at global, national, and state/local levels.

In the Summer of 2021, Monahan took a temporary leave from Georgetown to serve as Counselor to the Secretary the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), advising on issues related to unaccompanied children crossing the US-Mexico border and those arriving from Afghanistan. He also recently completed a term as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health.

From 2010-2014, Monahan served as Special Advisor for Global Health Partnerships at the US Department of State. Under the leadership of Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, he managed the Obama Administration’s successful strategy for reforming the operations and replenishing the finances of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an innovative public-private partnership based in Switzerland ($4 billion in annual grantmaking). He served as the US Government’s representative/alternate on the Global Fund’s Board, a member of the Board’s Comprehensive Reform Working Group and Vice-Chair of its Finance and Operational Performance Committee.

In 2009-2010, he served as director of the Office of Global Health Affairs at HHS and served as a primary liaison to the World Health Organization’s leadership during the H1N1 influenza pandemic. He also served as Counselor to the Secretary of HHS and represented HHS on Vice-President Biden’s interagency task force responsible for coordinating implementation of economic stimulus legislation in 2009.

From 2000-2007, he served as Senior Fellow at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a philanthropy dedicated to low-income children in the United States. He advised the Foundation’s senior leadership on federal policy issues; managed its relationship with Living Cities (a public-private partnership devoted to US community development); and supported its use of loan guarantees and innovative program-related investment strategies for community development.

During the Clinton Administration, Monahan served as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at HHS (1993-1997), representing the Secretary in negotiations with governors and state officials regarding ten statewide Medicaid waivers and 43 AFDC demonstration waivers and overseeing HHS’s regional directors. As the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, he helped manage implementation of federal welfare reform, including child support enforcement innovations; and was the senior federal official on-site in establishing a refugee camp for Kosovar refugees in New Jersey.

Monahan has leveraged skills from his diplomatic and policymaking career to develop and grow complex and cross-cutting initiatives at Georgetown. In 2007, he helped launch Georgetown’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law as its founding Executive Director. More recently, he collaborated with the Executive Vice President for the Medical Center and the Vice President for Global Engagement to conceive, build, launch and implement a successful university-wide Global Health Initiative that includes support for faculty grants, student fellows, and events, and he has convened major events with national and world leaders.

In his varied career, Monahan has served as Legal Counsel to US Senator David Pryor; Law Clerk to US District Court Chief Judge John Grady; and is a veteran of numerous political races, including the Mondale and Clinton presidential campaigns. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he serves on the boards of the National Network for Public Health Law, US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.

Monahan holds bachelors and law degrees cum laude from Georgetown University.


Global Health, Health Law, Social Welfare Law


Global Health Law, Health Policy, Social Welfare Law

Featured Works

The legal determinants of health: harnessing the power of law for global health and sustainable development.

Academic Appointment(s)


Professor, Law Center – JD – Juris DoctorDean, Medical Center

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