The University of Houston Law Center Faculty

Jessica   Roberts




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Jessica L. Roberts

Director, Health Law & Policy Institute
George Butler Research Professor


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

Jessica L. Roberts is the Director of the Health Law and Policy Institute and a George Butler Research Professor, 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 and antidiscrimination law. Her scholarship has appeared, or is forthcoming, in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Boston College Law Review, the William and Mary Law Review, the Minnesota Law Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, and the Journal of Law and the Biosciences, among others. Her book on "healthism," co-authored with Elizabeth Weeks Leonard, is forthcoming with the Cambridge University Press.

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, 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 Players 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

Evaluating NFL Player Health & Performance: Legal & Ethical Issues (with I. Glenn Cohen, Chris Deubert, & Holly Fernandez Lynch), 165 Univ. Penn. L. Rev. --- (forthcoming 2017)

Health Care & the Myth of Self-Reliance, (with Nicole Huberfeld), 57 B.C. L. Rev. 1 (2016)

Healthism & The Law of Employment Discrimination, 99 Iowa L. Rev.571 (2014) 

Health Law as Disability Rights Law, 97 Minn. L. Rev.101 (2013)

Preempting Discrimination: Lessons from the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, 63 Vand. L. Rev. 439 (2010)

Disability Law
Genetics and the Law
Health Law