Alan Meisel

Professor Emeritus of Law
Director of Online Programs and MSL Program


Alan Meisel, a leading national and international authority on end-of-life decision making and informed consent to medical treatment, is the founder of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Bioethics and Health Law and the Law School's Health Law Certificate Program.

Professor Meisel is the principal author of the treatise, The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking (Wolters Kluwer), now in its third edition. The first edition won the 1989 Association of American Publishers Award for the outstanding book in the legal practice category. Professor Meisel has published widely in the fields of health law and medical ethics in numerous medical, legal, and ethical journals.

Professor Meisel served on the Ethics Working Group of the White House Task Force on Health Care Reform in 1993. He was assistant director for legal studies at the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine in 1982, where he helped draft the Commission's studies on informed consent and on end-of-life decision making. A Fellow of the Hastings Center, Professor Meisel has served as a consultant to the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment on its studies on Life-Sustaining Technologies and on Institutional Protocols for Health Care Decision Making.

He is also the founder and director of Law School's Master of Studies in Law (MSL) Program, and is the director of the Certificate in Disability Legal Studies Program.

Key/Recent Publications


  • Lidz CW, Meisel A, Zerubavel E, Carter M, Sestak R, Roth LH.  Informed Consent: A Study of Decisionmaking in Psychiatry (Guilford Press, 1984).
  • Alan Meisel & K.L. Cerminara, The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking (Wolters Kluwer, 3d. ed. 2004, and annual supplements).
  • Alan Meisel, The Right to Die (Wiley Law Publications, revised and enlarged 2d ed. 1995, and supplements).
  • Alan Meisel, The Right to Die (Wiley, 1989, and supplements).
  • Appelbaum PS, Lidz CW, Meisel A. Informed Consent: Legal Theory and Clinical Practice. New York: Oxford University Press (Oxford University Press 1987).

Book Chapters:

  • Alan Meisel & B. Jennings, Ethics, End-of-Life Care, and the Law: Overview and Recent Trends in Dilemmas at the End of Life (K. J. Doka & B. Jennings eds. Washington, DC: The Hospice Foundation of America 2005).
  • Alan Meisel, Physician-Assisted Suicide: Shifting the Focus from Means to Ends in The Case for Legalization of Physician-Assisted Death : The Right to Excellent End-of-Life Care and Choice (T. E. Quill & M. P. Battin eds. Johns Hopkins Press 2004).


  • Alan Meisel, Suppose the Schindlers Had Won the Schiavo Case, 61 U. Miami L. Rev. 733 (2007). Available on SSRN.
  • Alan Meisel, From Tragedy to Catastrophe: The Bureaucratization of Informed Consent, Yale J. Health L., Pol'y, & Ethics 101 (2006). Available on SSRN.
  • Alan Meisel, The Role of Litigation in End of Life Care: A Reappraisal. in Supplement on Improving End of Life Care: Why Has It Been So Difficult?, Hastings Center Report Special Report 35, no.6, S47-S51 (2005).
  • Alan Meisel, Ethics and Law: Physician-Assisted Dying, 8 J. Palliative Med. 609-623 (2005).
  • Alan Meisel, Quality of Life and End-of-Life Decisionmaking, 12 Supp. 1 Quality of Life Rearch 91-94 (2003).
  • Alan Meisel, L. Snyder & T. Quill, Seven Legal Barriers to End-of-Life Care--Myths, Realities, and Grains of Truth, 284 J. Am. Med. Ass'n 2495 (2000).
  • Meisel A. Pharmacists, Physician-Assisted Suicide, and Pain Control. University of Maryland Journal of Health Care Law & Policy 1999; 2:201-232. Available on SSRN.
  • Meisel A. Managed Care, Autonomy, and Decision-Making at the End-of-Life. University of Houston Law Review 1999; 35:1393-1436. Available on SSRN.
  • Meisel A. Physician-Assisted Suicide: A Roadmap for State Courts. Fordham Urban Law Journal 1997; 24:801-841. Available on SSRN.


Director, Master of Studies in Law (MSL) Program

Director, Online Programs

Other Activities

  • ACHIEVA Family Trust, Board Member (2007-2010)
  • Death with Dignity National Center, Board of Directors (1997- 2012)
  • Ethics Committee, Center for Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology, University of Pittsburgh Physicians (2008-16)
  • Ethics Committee, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (2004-16)
  • Ethics Committee, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (1992-2016)
  • Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Board of Trustees (2003-06)