Ethics Policy Center

The Ethics Policy Center supports the empirical and scholarly work of the lab of Dr. Joseph Fins. The lab is currently studying how surrogates of patients with severe brain injury make patient-centered decisions using social psychology techniques and psychoanalytic methods. Additionally, the lab conducts ethnographic research with families who are visiting Weill Cornell for Dr. Schiff’s studies. These ongoing interviews offer the family’s perspective on the ethical and policy dilemmas of caring for a patient with a sustained brain injury. Most of their stories describe their frustration with a pervasive therapeutic nihilism, owed to clinicians’ static view of the brain; care incommensurate to the patient’s chronic and acute needs; and barriers to rehabilitation. Data from these studies ground arguments for an ethical framework that affirms these patients’ right-to-care, while upholding their right-to-die, as well as changes to reimbursement policies – particularly medical necessity clauses- that fail to respond to the biology of the brain. Dr. Fins is also a scholar in residence at the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School and collaborates with students and faculty to explore the impact that law and health policies have on this vulnerable population. To learn more about his work at Yale Law School, please visit:

Weill Cornell Medicine Consortium for the Advanced Study of Brain Injury 520 East 70th Street New York, NY