George J. Annas, JD, MPH

William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights
George Annas
Talbot – T363W
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George Annas is the William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights of Boston University School of Public Health, and Professor in the Boston University School of Medicine, and School of Law. He is the cofounder of Global Lawyers and Physicians, a transnational professional association of lawyers and physicians working together to promote human rights and health. He has degrees from Harvard College (A.B. economics, ’67), Harvard Law School (J.D. ’70) and Harvard School of Public Health (M.P.H. ’72), where he was a Joseph P. Kennedy Fellow in Medical Ethics. After graduating from law school, he clerked for Justice John V. Spalding of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and came to Boston University in 1972 as the Director of the Center for Law and Health Sciences at the law school. Professor Annas is the author or editor of nineteen books on health law and bioethics, including Worst Case Bioethics: Death, Disaster, and Public Health (2010), American Bioethics: Crossing Human Rights and Health Law Boundaries (2005), The Rights of Patients (3d ed. 2004), and a play, entitled “Shelley’s Brain,” that has been presented to bioethics audiences across the U.S. and in Australia. Professor Annas has been called “the father of patient rights,” “the doyen of American medico-legal analysts,” and a “national treasure.” Professor Annas wrote a regular feature on “law and bioethics” for the Hastings Center Report from 1976 to 199l, and a regular feature on “Public Health and the Law” in the American Journal of Public Health from 1982 to 1992 and since 1991 has written a regular feature on “Legal Issues in Medicine” for the New England Journal of Medicine, now under the title “Health Law, Ethics, and Human Rights.” He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Institute of Medicine, vice-chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Health Rights and Bioethics (Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section) and a member of the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academy of Sciences. He has also held a variety of government regulatory posts, including Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, Chair of the Massachusetts Health Facilities Appeals Board, and Chair of the Massachusetts Organ Transplant Task Force.

Other Positions:

  • Chair of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights, Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health
  • Professor, Sociomedical Sciences, Boston University School of Medicine


  • Harvard College, AB
  • Harvard Law School, JD
  • Harvard School of Public Health, MPH

Classes Taught

  • SPHLW740
  • SPHLW751
  • SPHLW840


  • Published on 4/2/2015

    Mariner WK, Annas GJ. Informed consent and the First Amendment. N Engl J Med. 2015 Apr 2; 372(14):1285-7.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/6/2014

    Annas GJ. Medical marijuana, physicians, and state law. N Engl J Med. 2014 Sep 11; 371(11):983-5.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/16/2014

    Annas GJ, Ruger TW, Ruger JP. Money, sex, and religion--the Supreme Court''s ACA sequel. N Engl J Med. 2014 Aug 28; 371(9):862-6.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/12/2014

    Annas GJ, Elias S. 23andMe and the FDA. N Engl J Med. 2014 Mar 13; 370(11):985-8.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/15/2013

    Mariner WK, Annas GJ. "Sugary drinks" and obesity. N Engl J Med. 2013 Aug 15; 369(7):680-1.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/12/2013

    Annas GJ, Crosby SS, Glantz LH. Guantanamo Bay: a medical ethics-free zone? N Engl J Med. 2013 Jul 11; 369(2):101-3.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/16/2013

    Wolf SM, Annas GJ, Elias S. Point-counterpoint. Patient autonomy and incidental findings in clinical genomics. Science. 2013 May 31; 340(6136):1049-50.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/18/2013

    Annas GJ. Health and human rights in the continuing global economic crisis. Am J Public Health. 2013 Jun; 103(6):967.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/3/2013

    Mariner WK, Annas GJ. Limiting "sugary drinks" to reduce obesity--who decides? N Engl J Med. 2013 May 9; 368(19):1763-5.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/25/2012

    Annas GJ. Strip searches in the Supreme Court--prisons and public health. N Engl J Med. 2012 Oct 25; 367(17):1653-7.

    Read at: PubMed

View 372 more publications:View full profile at BUMC