Alan Meisel, JD

  • Professor of Law

Alan Meisel is an authority on legal aspects of decision-making in the physician-patient relationship. His work focuses on both the theory and the practice of informed consent and the right to refuse medical treatment. His most recent book, The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking, is now in its third edition. The first edition won the 1989 American Association of Publishers’ award for the best book in its category. His other books include Informed Consent: Legal Theory and Clinical Practice (with Appelbaum and Lidz) and Informed Consent: A Study of Decisionmaking in Psychiatry (with Lidz, Roth, et al.). He was assistant director for legal studies on the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research and participated in the writing of the Commission’s reports on informed consent and forgoing life-sustaining treatment. He also served on the Ethics Working Group of the White House Task Force on Health Care Reform in 1993. Professor Meisel is a fellow of the Hastings Center and a member of the editorial boards of Bioethics Books, the Journal of Clinical Ethics, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, and Law, Medicine and Ethics. He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Bioethics and a member of the board of directors of the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics.

Prof. Meisel holds a primary faculty appointment in the School of Law where he directs the Health Law Certificate Program and teaches courses in bioethics and law, genetics and law, health law and policy, death and dying, and tort law. He also co-directs the joint JD-MA program in law and bioethics and the joint JD-MPH program in law and public health. In 1995 was appointed the Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote Professor of Bioethics and he retired from the Chair in 2018.  He teaches medical ethics in the School of Medicine.

He serves on the University’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight, the UPMC-Presbyterian Ethics Committee, the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Ethics Committee, the Center for Fertility Services Ethics Committee, and the Children’s Hospital Disorders of Sexual Differentiation Committee.