George Annas head shot

George J. Annas

William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor

Chairman and Professor of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights Department, School of Public Health
Professor of Law
Professor, School of Medicine

AB, magna cum laude, Harvard College
JD, Harvard University
MPH, Harvard University


Biography

George Annas is the William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor and chair of the Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights Department of Boston University School of Public Health. He is also a professor in the Boston University School of Medicine and the 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 (AB economics, ’67), Harvard Law School (JD ’70) and Harvard School of Public Health (MPH ’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 & Health Sciences at the law school.

Professor Annas is the author or editor of 19 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 US 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 1991, and a regular feature on “Public Health and the Law” in the American Journal of Public Health from 1982 to 1992. Since 1991 he 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.

Publications

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  • George J. Annas, Money, Sex, and Religion – The Supreme Court's ACA Sequel 371 New England Journal of Medicine (2014)
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  • George J. Annas, Rules for Donations to Tissue Banks: What Next? 358 New England Journal of Medicine (2008)
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  • George J. Annas, Cancer and the Constitution: Choice at Life's End 357 New England Journal of Medicine (2007)
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  • George J. Annas, Physicians and torture: lessons from the Nazi doctors 89 International Review of the Red Cross (2007)
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  • George J. Annas, Human Rights Outlaws: Nuremberg, Geneva, and the Global War on Terror 87 Boston University Law Review (2007)
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  • George J. Annas, The Supreme Court and Abortion Rights 356 New England Journal of Medicine (2007)
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  • George J. Annas, Hunger Strikes at Guantanamo: Medical Ethics and Human Rights in a “Legal Black Hole” 355 New England Journal of Medicine (2006)
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  • George J. Annas, DNA Testing, Banking, and Genetic Privacy 355 New England Journal of Medicine (2006)
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  • George J. Annas, Congress, Controlled Substances, and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Elephants in Mouseholes 354 New England Journal of Medicine (2006)
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  • George J. Annas, Intelligent Judging: Evolution in the Classroom and the Courtroom 354 New England Journal of Medicine (2006)
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  • George J. Annas, Bioterror and “Bioart”: A Plague o' Both Your Houses 354 New England Journal of Medicine (2006)
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  • George J. Annas, Family Privacy and Death: Antigone, War, and Medical Research 352 New England Journal of Medicine (2005)
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  • George J. Annas, Jumping Frogs, Endangered Toads, and California's Medical-Marijuana Law 353 New England Journal of Medicine (2005)
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  • George J. Annas, Unspeakably Cruel: Torture, Medical Ethics, and the Law 352 New England Journal of Medicine (2005)
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  • George J. Annas, I Want to Live: Medicine Betrayed by Ideology in the Political Debate over Terri Schaivo 35 Stetson Law Review (2005)
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  • George J. Annas, “Culture of Life” Politics at the Bedside: The Case of Terri Schiavo 352 New England Journal of Medicine (2005)
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  • George J. Annas, Extremely Preterm Birth and Parental Authority to Refuse Treatment: The Case of Sidney Miller 351 New England Journal of Medicine (2004)
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  • George J. Annas, Forcible Medication for Courtroom Competence: The Case of Charles Sell 350 New England Journal of Medicine (2004)
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  • George J. Annas, The Right to Health and the Nevirapine Case in South Africa 348 New England Journal of Medicine (2003)
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  • George J. Annas, Blinded by Bioterrorism: Public Health and Liberty in the 21st Century 13 Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine (2003)
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  • George J. Annas, HIPAA Regulations: A New Era of Medical-Record Privacy? 348 New England Journal of Medicine (2003)
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  • George J. Annas, Puppy Love: Bioterrorism, Civil Rights, and Public Health 55 Florida Law Review (2003)
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  • George J. Annas, Protecting the Endangered Human: Toward an International Treaty Prohibiting Cloning and Inheritable Alterations 28 American Journal of Law & Medicine (2002)
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  • George J. Annas, Bioterrorism, Public Health, and Civil Liberties 346 New England Journal of Medicine (2002)
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  • George J. Annas, Medical Privacy and Medical Research: Judging the New Federal Regulations 346 New England Journal of Medicine (2002)
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  • George J. Annas, Moral Progress, Mental Retardation, and the Death Penalty 347 New England Journal of Medicine (2002)
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  • George J. Annas, Cloning and the U.S. Congress 346 New England Journal of Medicine (2002)
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  • George J. Annas, Testing Poor Pregnant Women for Cocaine: Physicians as Police Investigators 344 New England Journal of Medicine (2001)
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  • George J. Annas, “Partial-Birth Abortion” and the Supreme Court 344 New England Journal of Medicine (2001)
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  • George J. Annas, The Limits of Law at the Limits of Life: Lessons from Cannibalism, Euthanasia, Abortion, and the Court-Ordered Killing of One Conjoined Twin to Save the Other 33 Connecticut Law Review (2001)
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  • George J. Annas, Conjoined Twins: The Limits of Law at the Limits of Life 344 New England Journal of Medicine (2001)
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  • George J. Annas, The Limits of State Laws to Protect Genetic Information 345 New England Journal of Medicine (2001)
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  • George J. Annas, Ulysses and the Fate of Frozen Embryos - Reproduction, Research, or Destruction? 343 New England Journal of Medicine (2000)
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  • George J. Annas, The Man on the Moon, Immortality, and Other Millennial Myths: The Prospects and Perils of Human Genetic Engineering 49 Emory Law Journal (2000)
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  • George J. Annas, Tobacco, the Food and Drug Administration, and Congress 344 New England Journal of Medicine (2000)
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  • George J. Annas, The Last Resort: The Use of Physical Restraints in Medical Emergencies 341 New England Journal of Medicine (1999)
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  • George J. Annas, Waste and Longing: The Legal Status of Placental Blood Banking 340 New England Journal of Medicine (1999)
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  • George J. Annas, Protecting Patients from Discrimination: The Americans with Disabilities Act and HIV Infection 339 New England Journal of Medicine (1998)
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  • George J. Annas, A National Bill of Patients' Rights 338 New England Journal of Medicine (1998)
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  • George J. Annas, Human Cloning: A Choice or an Echo 23 University of Dayton Law Review (1998)
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  • George J. Annas, Human Rights and Health - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 50 339 New England Journal of Medicine (1998)
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  • George J. Annas, Partial-Birth Abortion, Congress, and the Constitution 339 New England Journal of Medicine (1998)
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  • George J. Annas, The Shadowlands: Secrets, Lies, and Assisted Reproduction 339 New England Journal of Medicine (1998)
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  • George J. Annas, Tobacco Litigation as Cancer Prevention: Dealing with the Devil 336 New England Journal of Medicine (1997)
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  • George J. Annas, Patients' Rights in Managed Care - Exit, Voice, and Choice 337 New England Journal of Medicine (1997)
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  • George J. Annas, Reefer Madness: The Federal Response to California's Medical-Marijuana Law 337 New England Journal of Medicine (1997)
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  • George J. Annas, The Bell Tolls for a Constitutional Right to Physician-Assisted Suicide 337 New England Journal of Medicine (1997)
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  • George J. Annas, Cowboys, Camels, and the First Amendment: The FDA's Restrictions on Tobacco Advertising 335 New England Journal of Medicine (1996)
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  • George J. Annas, The Promised End: Constitutional Aspects of Physician-Assisted Suicide 335 New England Journal of Medicine (1996)
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  • George J. Annas, The Politics of Human-Embryo Research: Avoiding Ethical Gridlock 334 New England Journal of Medicine (1996)
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  • George J. Annas, The Promised End - Physician-Assisted Suicide and Abortion 35 Duquesne Law Review (1996)
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  • George J. Annas, The Right to Die in America: Sloganeering from Quinlan and Cruzan to Quill and Kevorkian 34 Duquesne Law Review (1996)
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  • George J. Annas, Facilitating Choice: Judging the Physician's Role in Abortion and Suicide 1 Quinnipiac Health Law Journal (1996)
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  • George J. Annas, Medicine, Death, and the Criminal Law 333 New England Journal of Medicine (1995)
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  • George J. Annas, The Health of the President and Presidential Candidates: The Public's Right to Know 333 New England Journal of Medicine (1995)
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  • George J. Annas, Women and Children First 333 New England Journal of Medicine (1995)
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  • George J. Annas, Drafting the Genetic Privacy Act: Science, Policy, and Practical Considerations 23 Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (1995)
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  • George J. Annas, Scientific Evidence in the Courtroom: The Death of the Frye Rule 330 New England Journal of Medicine (1994)
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  • George J. Annas, When Should Preventive Treatment Be Paid for by Health Insurance? 331 New England Journal of Medicine (1994)
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  • George J. Annas, Informed Consent, Cancer, and Truth in Prognosis 330 New England Journal of Medicine (1994)
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  • George J. Annas, Death by Prescription 331 New England Journal of Medicine (1994)
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  • George J. Annas, Asking the Courts to Set the Standard of Emergency Care - The Case of Baby K 330 New England Journal of Medicine (1994)
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  • George J. Annas, Control of Tuberculosis -- The Law and the Public's Health 328 New England Journal of Medicine (1993)
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  • George J. Annas, Physician-Assisted Suicide -- Michigan's Temporary Solution 328 New England Journal of Medicine (1993)
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  • George J. Annas, Detention of HIV-Positive Haitians at Guantanamo 329 New England Journal of Medicine (1993)
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  • George J. Annas, Setting Standards for the Use of DNA-Typing Results in the Courtroom - The State of the Art 326 New England Journal of Medicine (1992)
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  • George J. Annas, The Changing Landscape of Human Experimentation: Nuremberg, Helsinki, and Beyond 2 Health Matrix, The Journal of Law-Medicine (1992)
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  • George J. Annas, Adding Injustice to Injury - Compulsory Payment for Unwanted Treatment 327 New England Journal of Medicine (1992)
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  • George J. Annas, Health Warnings, Smoking, and Cancer - The Cipollone Case 327 New England Journal of Medicine (1992)
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  • George J. Annas, Changing the Consent Rules for Desert Storm 326 New England Journal of Medicine (1992)
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  • George J. Annas, The Supreme Court, Liberty, and Abortion 327 New England Journal of Medicine (1992)
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  • George J. Annas, Using Genes to Define Motherhood - The California Solution 326 New England Journal of Medicine (1992)
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  • George J. Annas, Mengele's Birthmark: The Nuremberg Code in United States Courts 7 Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy (1991)
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  • George J. Annas, The Health Care Proxy and the Living Will 324 New England Journal of Medicine (1991)
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  • George J. Annas, Fetal Protection and Employment Discrimination - The Johnson Controls Case 325 New England Journal of Medicine (1991)
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  • George J. Annas, Restricting Doctor–Patient Conversations in Federally Funded Clinics 325 New England Journal of Medicine (1991)
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  • George J. Annas, Mapping the Human Genome and the Meaning of Monster Mythology 39 Emory Law Journal (1990)
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  • George J. Annas, Nancy Cruzan and the Right to Die 323 New England Journal of Medicine (1990)
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  • George J. Annas, Faith (Healing), Hope and Charity at the FDA: The Politics of AIDS Drug Trials 34 Villanova Law Review (1989)
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  • George J. Annas, The Politics of Transplantation of Human Fetal Tissue 320 New England Journal of Medicine (1989)
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  • George J. Annas, The Supreme Court, Privacy, and Abortion 321 New England Journal of Medicine (1989)
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  • George J. Annas, Fairy Tales Surrogate Mothers Tell 16 Law, Medicine and Health Care (1988)
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  • George J. Annas, Protecting the Liberty of Pregnant Patients 316 New England Journal of Medicine (1987)
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  • George J. Annas, The Impact of Medical Technology on the Pregnant Woman's Right to Privacy 13 American Journal of Law & Medicine (1987)
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  • George J. Annas, Death and the Magic Machine: Informed Consent to the Artificial Heart 9 Western New England Law Review (1987)
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  • George J. Annas, Conflicts-of-Interest Disqualification in Medical Malpractice Litigation 13 Law, Medicine and Health Care (1986)
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  • George J. Annas, Regulating Heart and Liver Transplants in Massachusetts: An Overview of the Report of the Task Force on Organ Transplantation 13 Law, Medicine and Health Care (1985)
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  • George J. Annas, Competence to Refuse Medical Treatment: Autonomy vs. Paternalism 15 University of Toledo Law Review (1984)
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  • George J. Annas, In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer: Medicolegal Aspects of a New Technique to Create a Family 17 Family Law Quarterly (1983)
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  • George J. Annas, The Emerging Stowaway: Patients' Rights in the 1980s 10 Law, Medicine and Health Care (1982)
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  • George J. Annas, Mandatory PKU Screening: The Other Side of the Looking Glass 72 American Journal of Public Health (1982)
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  • George J. Annas, The Care of Private Patients in Teaching Hospitals: Legal Implications 56 Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine (1980)
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  • George J. Annas, Fathers Anonymous: Beyond the Best Interests of the Sperm Donor 14 Family Law Quarterly (1980)
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  • George J. Annas, Reconciling Quinlan and Saikewicz: Decision Making for the Terminally Ill Incompetent 4 American Journal of Law & Medicine (1979)
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  • George J. Annas, Allocation of Artificial Hearts in the Year 2002: Minerva v. National Health Agency 3 American Journal of Law & Medicine (1977)
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  • George J. Annas, Law and Medicine: Myths and Realities in the Medical School Classroom 1 American Journal of Law & Medicine (1975)
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  • George J. Annas, "Fitness" for Birth and Reproduction: Legal Implications of Genetic Screening 9 Family Law Quarterly (1975)
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  • George J. Annas, Medical Malpractice Litigation under National Health Insurance: Essential or Expendable 1975 Duke Law Journal (1975)
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  • George J. Annas, Psychosurgery: The Law's Response 54 Boston University Law Review (1974)
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  • George J. Annas, The Patient Rights Advocate: Redefinig the Doctor-Patient Relationship in the Hospital Context 27 Vanderbilt Law Review (1974)
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In the Media

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  • Grunge November 14, 2022

    This Is What Happens to Body Parts after Amputation

    George Annas provides insight.
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  • Ärzte-Zeitung October 22, 2022

    75 Years of the Nuremberg Code – and the Doctors Have Learned Nothing?

    George Annas is quoted.
    read more

  • Wicked Local August 15, 2022

    Massachusetts Aid-in-dying Bill May Have Slim Chance to Pass — But Support Grows

    George Annas is quoted.
    read more

  • CBS Boston June 27, 2022

    Massachusetts Employers and Insurers Navigate Post-Roe America

    George Annas is quoted.
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  • Today I Found Out June 24, 2022

    The Baby with The Baboon Heart

    George Annas is quoted.
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  • Boston Globe May 31, 2022

    Insurers and Employers in Mass. Scramble to Keep Out-of-state Workers Covered for Abortion

    George Annas is quoted.
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  • The Daily Free Press March 15, 2022

    BU Medical Students Call on Boston Medical Center to Humanize Care, Stop Universal Shackling of Incarcerated Patients

    George Annas is quoted.
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  • NBC News Channel January 26, 2022

    Father of 2 Denied Heart Transplant for Being Unvaccinated

    George Annas is quoted.
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  • Nature Portfolio Bioengineering Community January 7, 2022

    The CRISPR Children – Episode 3

    George Annas' research is referenced.
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  • Grunge January 4, 2022

    What Would Really Happen If You Cloned Yourself?

    George Annas' research is referenced.
    read more

  • Nature Biotechnology November 24, 2021

    The CRISPR Children

    George Annas is quoted.
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  • Politifact September 15, 2021

    Will Joe Biden’s Vaccination Requirements Hold Up in Court?

    George J. Annas quoted.
    read more

  • Science Magazine August 12, 2021

    Critics Say a Childhood Asthma Study Unethically Withheld Care—And See a Troubling Trend

    George Annas is quoted.
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  • USA Today August 10, 2021

    Fact Check: COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Don’t Violate Nuremberg Code

    George J. Annas is quoted.
    read more

  • USA Today

    Fact Check: COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Don’t Violate Nuremberg Code

    George Annas is quoted.
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Stories from The Record

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Courses

Health and Human Rights: SPH LW 740

4 credits

This course focuses on health and it is closely linked to the realization of human rights. Preventable illness, infant mortality, and premature death, for example, are closely tied to societal discrimination and violation of human rights. This course explores the relationship between human rights and health by examining relevant international declarations in historical context, exploring the meaning of "human rights" and "health," and analyzing specific case studies that illuminate the problems, prospects, and potential methods of promoting health by promoting human rights on the national and international levels.

REMINDER: This is a SPH course. Students cannot register through WebReg. Students who register for the class and want law credit must add the course to their law transcript by completing an add form at the Law Registrar's Office before the end of the add/drop period for that semester.

FALL 2022: SPH LW 740 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 20th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 10:00 am 12:50 pm 4 George J. Annas INS 214
SPRG 2023: SPH LW 740 A1 , Jan 24th to May 9th 2023
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 2:00 pm 4:50 pm 4 George J. Annas

Health Systems, Law, and Policy: SPH PH 719

4 credits

This is a course about who gets what health services, when and how. Policies and laws governing what services are available and on what terms strongly influence health status at both the individual and population levels. This course examines the Constitutional, regulatory, political and socio-economic bases for the policies that determine access, quality, cost and equity in health services and population health programs. While the focus is principally on US examples, the course is structured on the World Health Organization's framework for organizing and analyzing national health systems, covering governance, financing, delivery systems, workforce, and human and other resources. The course combines intensive individual preparation for each class using both written and video materials, interactive class presentations and hands-on individual and group projects in laboratory sessions.

FALL 2022: SPH PH 719 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 20th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 10:00 am 12:50 pm 4 Nicole Huberfeld INS 112
FALL 2022: SPH PH 719 B1 , Sep 6th to Dec 20th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Thu 10:00 am 12:50 pm 4 George J. Annas EVN EB43
FALL 2022: SPH PH 719 C1 , Sep 6th to Dec 20th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Mon 2:00 pm 4:50 pm 4 McCuskey INS 112
FALL 2022: SPH PH 719 D1 , Sep 7th to Dec 14th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Wed 2:00 pm 4:50 pm 4 Ulrich INS 112
FALL 2022: SPH PH 719 E1 , Sep 6th to Dec 20th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Thu 6:00 pm 8:50 pm 4 Cannella EVN EB43
FALL 2022: SPH PH 719 OL , Sep 6th to Dec 20th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 4 Rosenbloom
SPRG 2023: SPH PH 719 B1 , Jan 25th to May 10th 2023
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Wed 6:00 pm 8:50 pm 4 Ulrich
SPRG 2023: SPH PH 719 OL , Jan 19th to May 10th 2023
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 4 Densberger