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

Areas of Interest
Health Law

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.

  1. Wendy Mariner, George Annas, Nicole Huberfeld & Michael Ulrich, Public Health Law, 3rd edition, Carolina Academic Press (2019).
  2. Wendy Mariner & George Annas, "(Public) Health and Human Rights in Practice," 41 Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 129 (2016).
  3. Wendy Mariner & George Annas, "A Culture Of Health And Human Rights," 35 Health Affairs 1999 (2016).
  4. Wendy Mariner & George Annas, "Informed Consent and the First Amendment," 372 New England Journal of Medicine 1285 (2015).
    Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  5. Wendy Mariner & George Annas, Public Health Law, Second Edition, LexisNexis (2014).
  6. Wendy Mariner & George Annas, "Limiting “Sugary Drinks” to Reduce Obesity — Who Decides?" 368 New England Journal of Medicine 1763 (2013).
    Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  7. Wendy Mariner, Leonard Glantz & George Annas, "Reframing Federalism — The Affordable Care Act (and Broccoli) in the Supreme Court," 367 New England Journal of Medicine 1154 (2012).
    Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  8. Wendy Mariner, George Annas & Leonard Glantz, "Can Congress Make You Buy Broccoli? And Why That's a Hard Question," 364 New England Journal of Medicine 201 (2011).
  9. Wendy Mariner & George Annas, "Women and Children Last — The Predictable Effects of Proposed Federal Funding Cuts," 364 New England Journal of Medicine 1590 (2011).
    Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  10. Wendy Mariner, George Annas & Paula Lobato de Faria, "Defining Health Law or the Edgewood Syndrome," 25 Revista Portuguesa de Saúde Pública 117 (2010).
  11. Wendy Mariner & George Annas, "Health Insurance Politics in Federal Court," 363 New England Journal of Medicine 1300 (2010).
  12. Wendy Mariner, George Annas & Wendy Parmet, "Pandemic Preparedness: A Return to the Rule of Law," 1 Drexel Law Review 341 (2009).
    SSRN | Scholarly Commons
  13. Wendy Mariner, Kenneth Wing, George Annas & Daniel Strouse, Public Health Law, First Edition, LexisNexis (2007).
  14. Wendy Mariner, George Annas & Leonard Glantz, "Jacobson v Massachusetts: It’s Not Your Great-Great-Grandfather’s Public Health Law," 95 American Journal of Public Health 581 (2005).
  15. Frances Miller & George J. Annas, "Culture, Economics and Choice," in Some Choice: Law, Medicine, and the Market 63, Oxford University Press (1998).
  16. Wendy Mariner, George Annas, Leonard Glantz & Michael Grodin, "Taking Benefits Seriously in Developing Countries," 28 Hastings Center Report 38 (1998).
  17. Frances Miller & George J. Annas, "The Effect of Culture and Economics on Informed Consent in Japan," Tsukuba Review of Law and Political Science (1997).
  18. Leonard Glantz, Wendy Mariner & George Annas, "Risky Business: Setting Public Health Policy for HIV-Infected Health Care Professionals," 70 The Milbank Quarterly 43 (1992).
  19. Wendy Mariner, Leonard Glantz & George Annas, "Pregnancy, Drugs, and the Perils of Prosecution," 9 Criminal Justice Ethics 30 (1990). Reprinted with permission in: Monk RC, ed.  Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Crime and Criminology, 2d ed., 284, Guilford. CN:  Dushkin Publishing, 1991.
  20. George Annas, Leonard Glantz & Wendy Mariner, "The Right of Privacy Protects the Doctor-Patient Relationship," 263 Journal of the American Medical Association 858 (1990).
  21. Michael Baram, "Corporate Management of Genetic and Other Health Risks," in Genetics and the Law 475, A. Milunsky & George J. Annas, eds., Plenum Press (1985).
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