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Joseph J. Fins, M.D., MACP, FRCP; Faculty Affiliate

The E. William Davis, Jr. M.D. Professor of Medical Ethics and Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics, Weill Cornell Medical College

Dr. Joseph J. Fins is The E. William Davis, Jr. M.D. Professor of Medical Ethics and Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College where he also serves as Professor of Medicine (with Tenure), Professor of Public Health and Professor of Medicine in Psychiatry. He is also an Attending Physician and the Director of Medical Ethics at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center and an adjunct faculty at Rockefeller University where he is a Senior Attending Physician at The Rockefeller University Hospital. Fins is an elected Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

A recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, Fins has also received 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 and Buster Foundations. He was appointed by President Clinton to The White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and currently serves on The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law by gubernatorial appointment.

The author of over 250 publications and his current scholarly interests include ethical and policy issues in brain injury and disorders of consciousness, palliative care, research ethics in neurology and psychiatry, medical education and methods of ethics case consultation. He is a co-author of the 2007 Nature paper describing the first use of deep brain stimulation in the minimally conscious state. 

Fins is President of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and is a member of the Hastings Center Board of Trustees where he is Vice-Chair of the Fellows’ Council. A former Governor of the American College of Physicians, he has been honored with the College’s Laureate Award. 


  • M.D., Cornell University
  • B.A., Wesleyan University


  • Rights Come to Mind: Brain Injury, Ethics & The Struggle for Consciousness (Cambridge University Press, 2012)
  • A Palliative Ethic of Care: Clinical Wisdom at Life’s End (Jones and Bartlett Publishers International, 2006)