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Jessica  Roberts



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Jessica L. Roberts

Professor of Law, Leonard H. Childs Chair in Law
Professor of Medicine
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 the Leonard Childs Professor in Law, who specializes in genetics and the law, health law, and disability 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 ReviewNotre Dame Law Review (twice), University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, the American Journal of BioethicsNature Biotechnology (twice), and JAMA Internal Medicine, among others. Cambridge University Press published her book on "healthism," co-authored with Elizabeth Weeks Leonard, in 2018.

Her recent scholarship focuses on people’s legal interests in their genetic data. Professor Roberts has received funding from the Greenwall Foundation and the National Institutes of Health for her work on the legal implications of genetic technology.

A noted expert on diverse issues of health law, Professor Roberts has been interviewed by several leading media outlets, including U.S. News, the New York Times (twice), the Washington Post, the Houston Chronicle, National Public Radio, and BBC World Service.

Professor Roberts has 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 is a Health Policy Scholar with Baylor College of Medicine's Center for Medical Ethics & Health Policy.

Professor Roberts teaches, or has taught, Genetics & the Law, Disabilities & the Law, Contracts, and Health Law.

Selected Publications

When Health-Tech Companies Change Their Terms of Service (with Jim Hawkins), 367 Science 745 (February 2020).

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