Robert S. Olick

Robert S Olick, JD, PhDRobert S. Olick, J.D., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Bioethics and Humanities. He earned his law degree at Duke University and his doctorate in philosophy and bioethics at Georgetown University and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. Before joining the Center in 2001, he taught in the Colleges of Medicine and Law at the University of Iowa, and served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Bioethics Commission where he was involved in the crafting of public policy, reports and educational initiatives on a range of bioethical issues, in particular advance directives for health care, determination of death and decisions near the end of life, ethics committees and assisted reproductive technologies.

Dr. Olick chairs the University Hospital Ethics Committee and serves on its Ethics Consultation Service. He is Managing Editor of the Center's Bioethics in Brief newsletter.

Dr. Olick teaches bioethics for both first and third-year medical students and for allied health professional students, and directs the Responsible Conduct of Scientific Research course required for all graduate students. He directed the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Medicine (ELSIM, which was replaced with Excellence in Care in 2015) component of the Practice of Medicine course, required for all first-year medical students from 2001-2014. He has also taught courses on medical professionalism, decisions near the end of life, and Bioethics and the Law, and Genetics, Disability and Law through the Consortium for Culture and Medicine.

Dr. Olick’s research interests include decisions near the end of life, medical futility, physician-assisted suicide, the physician-patient relationship, informed consent, adolescent decision making, the limits of confidentiality, genomic medicine, reprogenetics, genetic privacy and discrimination, and research with adults with intellectual disability.

He is the author of Taking Advance Directives Seriously: Prospective Autonomy and Decisions Near the End of Life (Georgetown Univ. Press, 2001, 2004) and the co-author (with Robert Weir) of The Stored Tissue Issue: Biomedical Research, Ethics, and Law in the Era of Molecular Genetics (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004).

Dr. Olick may be reached at 315.464.8453 or at


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Olick RS. Taking Advance Directives Seriously: Prospective Autonomy and Decisions Near the End of Life.External Icon Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2001, paperback edition, 2004.

Weir R, Olick RS. The Stored Tissue Issue: Biomedical Research, Ethics, and Law in the Era of Genomic Medicine.External Icon New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Other Selected Publications

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Kania T, Schafer M, Caruso Brown A, Olick RS, Lantos J. Should a Teenager Be Allowed to Leave the Hospital AMA to Attend His Father's Funeral? PDF IconExternal IconPediatrics. 2018 May;141(5):1-5.McDonald KE, Conroy NE,

Olick RS, Panel TP. What's the harm? Harms in research with adults with intellectual disability.PDF IconExternal Icon American journal on intellectual and developmental disabilities. 2017 Jan;122(1):78-92.

McDonald K, Conroy N, Olick R. A quantitative study of attitudes toward the research participation of adults with intellectual disability: Do stakeholders agree?.External Icon Disability And Health Journal. 2017 Jan. 

Olick, RS, “Genetic Discrimination After GINA,”External Icon in Genetic Discrimination – Transatlantic Perspectives on the Case for a European Level Legal Response, Gerard Quinn, Aisling de Paor and Peter Blanck, eds. (Taylor & Francis, 2014).

Olick RS. "In Re Karen Quilan (1976): Establishing a Patient's Right to Die in Dignity,"External Icon Courting Justice: Ten New Jersey Cases That Shook the Nation, (Rutgers University Press 2013). Edited by Paul L. Tractenberg.

Olick RS, Lack P, et al. (eds.) "On the Scope and Limits of Advance Directives and Prospective Autonomy," External IconAdvance Directives, International Library of Ethics, Law, and The New Medicine 54, DOI. (Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014)

Olick RS, "Defining Features of Advance Directives in Law and Clinical PracticePDF Icon," Chest 141(1) (Jan. 2012):232-238.

Olick RS, Potash J, Braun E. "Accommodating Religious and Moral Objections to Neurological Death,"PDF Icon Journal of Clinical Ethics (Summer, 2009):185-191.

Olick RS, "Rationing the Flu VaccinePDF Icon," Journal of Public Health Management and Practice 11(4) (July-Aug., 2005):373-374.

Olick RS, "Carcinogenic Plumes and Aerophobia: Ethical Tensions in the Public Smoking DebatePDF Icon," Journal of Public Health Management and Practice 10(6) (Nov.-Dec., 2004):573-74.

Olick RS. Ethics, epidemics, and the duty to treat.External Icon J Public Health Manag Pract. 2004 Jul-Aug;10(4):366-7.

Olick RS, Bergus GR. Malpractice liability for informal consultationsPDF Icon. Fam Med. 2003 Jul-Aug;35(7):476-81.

Olick RS. It's ethical, but is it legal? Teaching ethics and law in the medical school curriculumExternal Icon. Anat Rec. 2001 Feb;265(1):5-9.

Olick RS. Disclosing genetic information to family members. Do old paradigms fit the new medicine?External Icon N J Med. 2000 Jan;97(1):43-6.

Olick RS. Ethics consultation and the law: what's the standard of care? In: Rubin SB, Zoloth L, editors. Margin of Error: The Ethics of Mistakes in the Practice of MedicineExternal Icon. Hagerstown, MD: University Publishing Group; 2000. 287-304.

Olick RS. Genes in the workplace: new frontiers for ADA law, policy and research. In: Blanck PD, editor. Employment, Disability, and the Americans With Disabilities Act: Issues in Law, Public Policy and ResearchExternal Icon. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press; 2000. 285-314.

Olick RS, Kimura R, Kielstein JT, Hayashi H, Riedel M, Siegler M. Advance care planning and the ALS patient: A cross cultural perspective on advance directivesExternal Icon. Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik [Annual Review of Law and Ethics]. 1996;4:529-52.

Olick RS. Brain death, religious freedom, and public policy: New Jersey's landmark legislative initiativeExternal Icon. Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 1991 Dec;1(4):275-92.