Joseph Fins Named Solomon Center Distinguished Scholar

Joseph J. Fins, M.D., M.A.C.P. will be rejoining the Health Law Program at Yale Law School as the Solomon Center Distinguished Scholar in Medicine, Bioethics, and the Law. While at Yale, Dr. Fins will continue his work with YLS students on legal issues related to patients with severe brain injuries. His work with a small group of students and Senior Health Law Fellow Michael Ulrich has resulted in one manuscript accepted for publication by the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, and two other articles that are being finalized for submission. In the coming year, Dr. Fins plans to continue working with students on projects related to the law and severe brain injuries, in the hopes of expanding their access to health care and medical research while asserting that the marginalization of these individuals raises important questions for disability and civil rights. This focus expands scholarship presented in his forthcoming book Rights Come to Mind: Brain Injury, Ethics, and the Struggle for Consciousness to be published by Cambridge University Press in August 2015.

Dr. Fins also serves as the E. William Davis, Jr. M.D. Professor of Medical Ethics and Chief of Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College where he also serves as a tenured Professor of Medicine and Professor of Medical Ethics in Neurology, Professor of Medicine in Psychiatry and Professor of Health Care Policy and Research. He is the founding chair of the Ethics Committee of New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he serves as Attending Physician and Director of Medical Ethics. Dr. Fins is Co-Director of CASBI, the Consortium for the Advanced Study of Brain Injury at Weill Cornell and the Rockfeller University where is a member ofthe Adjunct Faculty and Senior Attending Physician at the Rockefeller University Hospital. Dr. Fins is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences, and an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014, Dr. Fins was inducted into Spain’s Royal National Academy of Medicine, where he was named Academico de Honor (Honored Academic), a title conferred on only 18 people worldwide.

Dr. Fins has received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, as well as a Soros Open Society Institute Project on Death in America Faculty Scholars Award, a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation Visiting Fellowship, and support from the Dana, Buster and Katz Foundations. He was appointed by President Clinton to The White House Commission on Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Policy and currently serves on The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law by gubernatorial appointment. Dr. Fins is immediate past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and is a fellow of the Hastings Center where he also serves as a member of the board of trustees where is also a fellow. In 2014, he was the Dwight H. Terry Visiting Scholar in Bioethics at Yale.

Dr. Fins is the author of more than 300 publications, including co-authoring the landmark 2007 Nature paper describing the first use of deep brain stimulation in the minimally conscious state, and his books include A Palliative Ethic of Care: Clinical Wisdom at Life’s End (Jones and Bartlett, 2006).

Dr. Fins holds degrees from Cornell University Medical College and Wesleyan University, and he completed his residency in Internal Medicine and Fellowship in General Internal Medicine at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.