The University of Houston Law Center Faculty

Jessica  Roberts



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Jessica L. Roberts

Alumnae College Professor in Law
Director, Health Law & Policy Institute


J.D., Yale Law School
B.A., University of Southern California

Jessica L. Roberts is the Director of the Health Law & Policy Institute and an Alumnae College Professor in Law, who specializes in health law, disability law, and genetics and the law. Prior to UH, Professor Roberts was an Associate-in-Law at Columbia Law School and an Adjunct Professor of Disability Studies at the City University of New York. Immediately after law school, she clerked for the Honorable Dale Wainwright of the Texas Supreme Court and the Honorable Roger L. Gregory of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Professor Roberts' research operates at the intersection of health law, ethics, and social justice. Her scholarship has appeared in the Yale Law Journal, Northwestern Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review (twice), University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, the American Journal of Bioethics, Nature Biotechnology, and JAMA Internal Medicine, among others. Cambridge University Press published her book on "healthism," co-authored with Elizabeth Weeks Leonard, in 2018.

A noted expert on diverse issues of health law, Professor Roberts has been interviewed by several media outlets, including BBC World Service, the New York Times (twice), the Washington Post, the Houston Chronicle, and National Public Radio. She has been a panelist at a congressional briefing on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, an invited presenter at NASA, and a consultant for the Football Player's Health Study at Harvard.

In 2015, Professor Roberts received the university-wide Teaching Excellence Award and the Provost's Certificate of Excellence. She was named a 2018 Greenwall Faculty Scholar in Bioethics and a 2016 Health Policy Scholar with Baylor College of Medicine's Center for Medical Ethics & Health Policy. She teaches, or has taught, Contracts, Disabilities and the Law, Genetics and the Law, and Health Law.

Selected Publications

GINA, Big Data, and the Future of Employee Privacy (with Bradley A. Areheart), 128 Yale L.J. 710 (2019).

Nudge-Proof: Distributive Justice & the Ethics of Nudging, 116 MICH. L. REV. 1045 (2018) (book review).

Progressive Genetic Ownership, 93 NOTRE DAME L. REV. 1105 (2018).

Evaluating NFL Player Health & Performance: Legal & Ethical Issues (with I. Glenn Cohen, Christopher R. Deubert, & Holly Fernandez Lynch), 165 UNIV. PENN. L. REV. 227 (2017).

Disability Law
Genetics and the Law
Health Law