Glenn Cohen

Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics
Professor, Harvard Law School

Prof. Glenn Cohen is one of the world's leading experts on the intersection of bioethics (sometimes also called "medical ethics") and the law, as well as health law. He also teaches civil procedure. From Seoul to Krakow to Vancouver, Professor Cohen has spoken at legal, medical, and industry conferences around the world and his work has appeared in or been covered on PBS, NPR, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, Mother Jones, the New York Times, the New Republic, the Boston Globe, and several other media venues. He was the youngest professor on the faculty at Harvard Law School (tenured or untenured) both when he joined the faculty in 2008 (at age 29) and when he was tenured as a full professor in 2013 (at age 34), though not the youngest in history.

Prof. Cohen's current projects relate to big data, health information technologies, mobile health, reproduction/reproductive technology, research ethics, organ transplantation, rationing in law and medicine, health policy, FDA law, translational medicine, and to medical tourism – the travel of patients who are residents of one country, the "home country," to another country, the "destination country," for medical treatment. He is the author of more than 80 articles and chapters and his award-winning work has appeared in leading legal (including the Stanford, Cornell, and Southern California Law Reviews), medical (including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA), bioethics (including the American Journal of Bioethics, the Hastings Center Report), scientific (Science, Cell, Nature Reviews Genetics) and public health (the American Journal of Public Health) journals, as well as Op-Eds in the New York Times and Washington Post.

Cohen is the editor of  The Globalization of Health Care: Legal and Ethical Issues (Oxford University Press, 2013, the introduction of which is available here), the co-editor of Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future (MIT Press, 2014, co-edited with Holly Lynch, introduction available here), Identified Versus Statistical Lives: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2015, co-edited with Norman Daniels and Nir Eyal , the introduction of which is available here), FDA in the Twenty-First Century: The Challenges of Regulating Drugs and New Technologies (Columbia University Press, 2015, co-edited with Holly Lynch, the introduction of which is available here), The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Health Care Law (Oxford University Press, 2015-2016, co-edited with William B. Sage and Allison K. Hoffman) and the author of Patients with Passports: Medical Tourism, Law, and Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2014), with two other books in progress.

Prior to becoming a professor he served as a law clerk to Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and as a lawyer for U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Appellate Staff, where he handled litigation in the Courts of Appeals and (in conjunction with the Solicitor General’s Office) in the U.S. Supreme Court. In his spare time (where he can find any!) he still litigates, having authored an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court for leading gene scientist Eric Lander in Association of Molecular Pathology v. Myriad, concerning whether human genes are patent eligible subject matter, a brief that was extensivelydiscussed by the Justices at oral argument. Most recently he submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt (the Texas abortion case, on behalf of himself, Melissa Murray, and B. Jessie Hill).

Cohen was selected as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow for the 2012-2013 year and bythe Greenwall Foundation to receive a Faculty Scholar Award in Bioethics. He is also a Fellow at the Hastings Center, the leading bioethics think tank in the United States. He is currently one of the key co-investigators on a multi-million Football Players Health Study at Harvard which is committed to improving the health of NFL players. He leads the Ethics and Law initiative as part of the multi-million dollar NIH funded Harvard Catalyst | The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center program. He is also one of three editors-in-chief of the Journal of Law and the Biosciences, a peer-reviewed journal published by Oxford University Press and serves on the editorial board for the American Journal of Bioethics. He serves on the Steering Committee for Ethics for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canadian counterpart to the NIH.

Glenn Cohen's Contributions