Ep. 37: Bob Martin, Dir. of Food System Policy Program at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF)  -ft. co-host: Ken Kaplan, Sloan Initiative for Health Systems Innovation (HSI) ||

On episode 37 we welcome an icon in our field who has long since promoted cleaner food animal production throughout the US.  Bob Martin is Director of the Food System Policy Program at Johns Hopkins Center for a livable Futures (CLF). Operating within the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Martin and his team at the CLF have embraced their role in systems leadership. They’ve begun curating a revolution in food production and healthier eating through a deeper understanding of planetary boundaries and by defining a common language of ethics in food.  Tune-In to be part of the change.


Previous to beginning his work at the CLF in 2011, Martin was the Executive Director of the PEW Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production.  Martin managed a comprehensive two-year, $3.6 million study that led to the publication of eight technical reports and a final 122-page report on the public health, environmental, animal welfare and rural community impacts of our conventional methods for producing meat, dairy and eggs. The report – Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America defined a seminal moment of awareness in US production, food systems and supporting a shared one-health. It’s been a significant part of our realization that the approach we’re using to raise animals has broad reaching human and public health impact that needs immediate attention.


Joining the conversation today as is co-host and friend Ken Kaplan. During his impressive 20 year career at MIT, Kaplan has been a visiting Scholar, a Senior Health System Advisor at the Sociotechnical Systems research center, and now acts as a Advisor the Sloan Initiative for Health Systems Innovation. Kaplan leverages his unique background in health, food systems and architecture to institute systems thinking on broader problems needing new perspective. Ken and Bob have been friends for over a decade, and that proves evident in the conversation as the two leaders share stories of each other’s commitment and accomplishments throughout our 45 minute chat.


Our engaging 45 minute conversation ranges broadly in subject matter.  From food animal wellbeing & living environment, Superbugs, the more general concept of investing in a shared Onehealth, the power of convening diverse stakeholders – and much, much more.  Without a doubt it’s the concept of systems thinking and design that underpins our discussion.   As it relates to all other conversations on the show – that’s the take away from this latest episode. If you want to get a bit under the hood, to learn more about what’s really going on thanks to the many shortcuts used in raising animals in our modern food system – this will be an enlightening conversation for many to hear.




Ken Kaplan

  • A systems engineer trained as an architect
  • co-authored transformative Child Obesity study 
  • The designer who reengineered the modern operating room 
  • Has been working on health care systems at MIT for the past dozen years