Susan M. Wolf, JD

Professor (Joint Appointment), Department of Medicine

Susan M. Wolf

Contact Info

Office Address:
Consortium on Law and Values in Health Environment & the Life Sciences
316 Johnston Hall
101 Pleasant Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Administrative Assistant Name
Tracey Mavetz

Administrative Email

Professor (Joint Appointment), Department of Medicine

McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine & Public Policy; Faegre Baker Daniels Professor of Law, Law School

Chair, Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences, UMN

Fellowship in Ethics & the Professions, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

JD, Law School, Yale Law School, New Haven, CT


Susan M. Wolf is the McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine & Public Policy; Faegre Baker Daniels Professor of Law and Professor of Law & Medicine at the University of Minnesota Law School; and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She is also Founding Chair of the University's Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences. She received her A.B. summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1975 and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1980, with graduate work at Harvard University.

Professor Wolf is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM), an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and an elected fellow of The Hastings Center as well as a past-member of the Fellows’ Council. She is a past member of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) Board of Directors (elected) and former Chair of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Law, Medicine and Health Care. She has received numerous grants to support her research, including from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and The Greenwall Foundation. In 2007-10 she served as a member of the Law & Neuroscience Project funded by the MacArthur Foundation. She has served as a senior consultant to The Hastings Center to produce revised guidelines for end-of-life care, funded by the Donaghue Foundation and Sussman Trust and published in 2013. In 2012, she received a Robert Wood Johnson (RWJF) Investigator Award in Health Policy Research to fund research in 2012-14.

After graduating from Yale Law School, she clerked for a federal judge and practiced law for several years at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York. In 1984 she became a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellow and then Associate for Law at The Hastings Center, a not-for-profit research institute now in Garrison, NY, specializing in biomedical ethics. She also taught law and medicine at New York University Law School for six years as an Adjunct Associate Professor. She was a Fellow in the Program in Ethics and the Professions at Harvard University in 1992-93, before joining the Minnesota faculty in the Fall of 1993.

Professor Wolf has served on a variety of governmental and institutional panels, including for the Institute of Medicine (IOM), as well as the American Bar Association (ABA) Coordinating Group on Bioethics and the Law, American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Ethics Committee, New York City AIDS Review Panel, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Ethics Committee. In 2011, she was appointed by the Secretary of Health & Human Services to the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB). She has served on the Editorial Board for theJournal of Law, Medicine & Ethics; American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB); Journal of Urban Health; and Journal of Women's Health and Law; and as Faculty Advisor to theMinnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology. She has lectured widely, in the United States and abroad.

Professor Wolf is the author or coauthor of numerous articles and book chapters that have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Science, American Journal of Public Health, Hastings Center Report, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, American Journal of Law & Medicine, Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, various law reviews, and other publications. She directed the Hastings Center project that produced the influential book, Guidelines on the Termination of Life-Sustaining Treatment and the Care of the Dying (Indiana University Press, 1987), is coauthor of the revised Guidelines published by Oxford University Press in 2013, as well as editor of Feminism & Bioethics: Beyond Reproduction (Oxford University Press, 1996). She writes frequently on death and dying, assisted suicide and euthanasia, genetics and genomics, assisted reproduction, women's health care, managed care, and other topics in health law, law and science, and bioethics.

For Professor Wolf's Law School bio and list of publications with links, see her Law School profile.



Awards & Recognition

  • McDonald-Merrill-Ketcham Award for Excellence in Law and Medicine, Indiana Univ. (2015)
  • Medical School Merit Award, University of Minnesota (1996)

Professional Associations

  • Member, National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine) (2009-present)
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2008-present)
  • Fellow, The Hastings Center (1993-present)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellow, The Hastings Center (1984-85)
  • Member, American Law Institute (ALI) (2014-present)
  • Member, National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) (2011-present)



Selected Recent Publications:

  • FX Shen, SM Wolf, RG Gonzalez, M Garwood. Ethical Issues Posed by Field Research Using Highly Portable and Cloud-Enabled Neuroimaging. Neuron 2020;105:771-75.
  • BJ Evans, SM Wolf. A Faustian Bargain that Imperils People’s Rights to See Their Own Personal Information. Florida Law Rev 2019;71:1281-345.
  • SM Wolf, BJ Evans. Return of Results and Data to Study Participants. Science 2018;362:159-60.
  • SM Wolf et al. Navigating the Research-Clinical Interface in Genomic Medicine: Analysis from the CSER Consortium. Genet Med 2017;20:545-53.
  • SM Wolf, N Berlinger, B Jennings. 40 Years of Work on End-of-Life Care: From Patients’ Rights to Systemic Reform. New Engl J Med 2015;372:678-82.
  • SM Wolf et al. Returning a Research Participant’s Genomic Results to Relatives: Analysis & Recommendations. J Law Med Ethics 2015;43:440-63.
  • SM Wolf, W Burke, BA Koenig. Mapping the Ethics of Translational Genomics: Situating Return of Results and Navigating the Research-Clinical Divide. J Law Med Ethics 2015;43:486-501.
  • C Radecki Breitkopf, GM Petersen, SM Wolf, et al. Preferences Regarding Return of Genomic Results to Family Members of Research Participants, Including After Participant Death: Empirical Results from a Cancer Biobank. J Law Med Ethics 2015;43:464-75.
  • SM Wolf, GJ Annas, S Elias. Patient Autonomy and Incidental Findings in Clinical Genomics. 340 Science 2013;340:1049-50.
  • SM Wolf. Return of Individual Research Results and Incidental Findings: Facing the Challenges of Translational Science. Ann Rev Genomics Hum Genet 2013;14:557-77.