Michele Bratcher Goodwin is the co-faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law.
Goodwin was previously a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine and founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy. She was the recipient of the 2020-21 Distinguished Senior Faculty Award for Research, the highest honor bestowed by the University of California. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute, as well as an elected fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Hastings Center (the organization central to the founding of bioethics). She is also an American Law Institute Adviser for the Restatement Third of Torts: Remedies.
She is credited with helping to establish and shape the health law field. She directed the first ABA accredited health law program in the nation and established the first law center focused on race and bioethics. Her health law scholarship is hailed as “exceptional” in the New England Journal of Medicine. She ranks among the most cited professors in the field. Trained in sociology and anthropology, Goodwin has conducted field research in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, focusing on human trafficking (marriage, sex, organs, and other biologics). Her books include Policing The Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood (2020); Biotechnology, Bioethics, and The Law (2015); Baby Markets: Money and the Politics of Creating Families (2010); and Black Markets: The Supply and Demand of Body Parts (2006).
Goodwin serves on the executive committee and national board of the American Civil Liberties Union. She was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Issues in Organ Donor Intervention Research and appointed an observer by the United States National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (for the revision of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act). She chaired several sections of the Association of American Law Schools, served as a trustee of the United States Law and Society Association, and was the first woman to be elected Secretary General of the International Academy of Law & Mental Health.
Goodwin has won national awards for excellence in scholarship, outstanding teaching, and committed community service. Gov. Paul Patton of Kentucky commissioned her a Colonel, the state’s highest title of honor for her outstanding contributions to K-12 education. In 2020 Orange Coast Magazine named her one of 35 Kickass Women. In 2019, she received the Be The Change Award. In 2018, she was bestowed the Sandra Day O’Connor Legacy Award by the Women’s Journey Foundation. That same year, she was named Teacher of the Year by the Thurgood Marshall Bar Association and received a commendation from the United States House of Representatives for Outstanding Teaching.
Her constitutional law scholarship appears in or is forthcoming in the Harvard Law Review, California Law Review, Chicago Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Michigan Law Review, New York University Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Yale Law Journal, among others. This dossier addresses legal questions related to freedom of speech; religious exercise; equal protection; due process; race and sex discrimination; reproductive rights; slavery; and LGBTQ equality. Her scholarship has been referenced by national media, legislators, and civil society organizations.
Previously, Goodwin was the Everett Fraser Professor at the University of Minnesota, with appointments in the Law School, Medical School, and School of Public Health. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago and University of Virginia law schools. Prior to teaching law, she was a Gilder-Lehrman Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University.