Govind Persad

Associate Professor of Law with Tenure


Health Law, Torts, Legal Ethics and Legal Profession

Professional Biography

Professor Persad’s research applies bioethical and distributive justice frameworks to law in order to address longstanding and new problems at the interface of health law and policy.

His recent writing appears in law reviews, such as the Michigan Law Review, Iowa Law Review, and Emory Law Journal, as well as high-profile peer reviewed medical and scientific journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, JAMA, and the Lancet. Professor Persad is also a frequent media commentator on health law and policy, with op-eds in the Washington Post, New York Times, and Boston Globe and media appearances on NPR and elsewhere. He was a 2020-21 DU Public Impact Fellow.

Professor Persad’s current projects evaluate potential definitions of health affordability, consider how to integrate health justice and equity into frameworks for the allocation of scarce medical resources, and propose new frameworks for international pandemic response. His research has most recently been supported by a Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholars Award. He is participating in the Colorado National Wastewater Surveillance System Center of Excellence at DU, and serves on the Faculty Advisory Committee for the Scrivner Institute of Public Policy.

Before joining the faculty at the Sturm College of Law, Professor Persad was an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Berman Institute of Bioethics, and a Junior Faculty Fellow at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He clerked for the Hon. Carlos Lucero, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Denver.

View CV


  • PhD, 2015, Stanford University
  • JD, 2013, Stanford Law School, with pro bono distinction
  • BS, 2007, Stanford University
  • BA, 2006, Stanford University

Featured Publications

Additional Publications

  • Tailoring Public Health Policies, 47 American Journal of Law & Medicine 176-204 (2021)., U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 21-06.
  • Choosing Affordable Health Insurance, 88 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 819 (2020).
  • Setting priorities fairly in response to Covid-19: identifying overlapping consensus and reasonable disagreement, Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Volume 7, Issue 1 (January-June 2020).
  • Examining Pharmaceutical Exceptionalism: Intellectual Property, Practical Expediency, and Global Health, 18 Yale J. Health Pol’y, L., & Ethics 158 (2019). Peer reviewed.
  • Evaluating the Legality of Age-Based Criteria in Health Care: From Nondiscrimination and Discretion to Distributive Justice, 60 B.C. L. Rev. 889 (2019).
  • Considering Quality of Life While Repudiating Disability Injustice: The Pathways Approach to Priority-Setting, 47 J.L. Med. & Ethics 294 (2019). Peer reviewed.
  • Will More Organs Save More Lives? Cost-Effectiveness and the Ethics of Expanding Organ Procurement, 33 Bioethics 684 (2019).
  • The Case for Valuing Non-Health and Indirect Benefits, in GLOBAL HEALTH PRIORITYSETTING: BEYOND COST-EFFECTIVENESS (Ole F. Norheim, Ezekiel J. Emanuel & Joseph Millum eds. 2019): 207-22. Oxford University Press.
  • Justice and Public Health, in OXFORD HANDBOOK OF PUBLIC HEALTH ETHICS (Nancy Kass, Jeff Kahn, and Anna Mastroianni eds. 2019): 33-46. Oxford University Press.
  • Transparency Trade-Offs: Priority-Setting, Scarcity, and Health Fairness, in Transparency in Health and Health Care (I. Glenn Cohen, Holly Fernandez Lynch & Barbara Evans eds. 2019): 44-57. Cambridge University Press.
  • Authority without identity: defending advance directives via posthumous rights over one’s body (2019).
  • Are Medicaid Closed Formularies Unethical? Social Values and Limit-Setting, , 21 AM. MED. ASS’N J. ETHICS 654 (2019). Second author, with Leah Rand (trainee). Invited contribution.
  • Differential Payment to Research Participants: An Ethical Analysis, 45 J. MED. ETHICS 318 (2019). First author, with Holly Fernandez Lynch and Emily Largent.
  • Cost-Effectiveness in Animal Health, forthcoming in THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF ANIMAL ETHICS (Bob Fischer ed. 2019).
  • Authority Without Identity: Defending Advance Directives via Posthumous Rights over One’s Body, 45 J. Med. Ethics 249 (2018).
  • Paying Patients: Legal and Ethical Dimensions, 20 Yale J.L. & Tech. 177. (2018).
  • Non-Health and Indirect Benefits, in GLOBAL HEALTH PRIORITIES: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Ole Frithjof Norheim & Ezekiel J. Emanuel eds.), forthcoming. First author, with Jessica du Toit.
  • Distributive Justice and the Relief of Household Debt, 26 J. Pol. Phil. 327 (2018).
  • The Case for Resource-Sensitivity: Why It Is Ethical to Provide Cheaper, Less-Effective Treatments in Global Health, 47 Hastings Ctr. Rep. 17 (2017). First author, with Ezekiel J. Emanuel. Featured article with commentaries by Alex London (Carnegie Mellon), Richard Marlink (Harvard), and Paul Ndebele (Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe).
  • Bankruptcy Beyond Status Maintenance, 11 Va. L. & Bus. Rev. 451 (2017).
  • Public Preferences About Fairness and the Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions, in INTERDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVES ON FAIRNESS, EQUITY AND JUSTICE (Meng Li & David Tracer eds. 2017).
  • Downward Mobility and Rawlsian Justice, 175 Phil. Studies 277 (2017).
  • Beyond Administrative Tunnel Vision: Widening the Lens of Costs and Benefits, 15 Geo. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 941 (2017). Invited symposium contribution.
  • Letter, The Ethics of Expanding Access to Cheaper, Less-Effective Treatments--Authors' Reply, 389 Lancet 1008 (2017). Second author, with Ezekiel J. Emanuel.
  • What Is the Relevance of Procedural Fairness to Making Determinations about Medical Evidence?, 19 Am. Med. Ass’n J. Ethics 183 (2017). Invited contribution.
  • Law, Science, and the Injured Mind, 67 Ala. L. Rev. 1179 (2016).
  • Health Theater, 48 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 585 (2016).
  • The Ethics of Expanding Access to Cheaper, Less-Effective Treatments, 388 Lancet 932 (2016). First author, with Ezekiel J. Emanuel.
  • Sufficiency, Comprehensiveness of Healthcare Coverage and Cost-Sharing Arrangements in the Realpolitik of Health Policyv, in WHAT IS ENOUGH? SUFFICIENCY, JUSTICE, AND HEALTH (Carina Fourie and Annette Rid eds. 2016): 267-80. First author, with Harald Schmidt.
  • Expanding Deliberation in Critical-Care Policy Design, 16 Am. J. Bioethics 60 (2016): 60-63. Invited contribution.
  • Should Research Ethics Encourage the Production of Cost-Effective Interventions?, in ETHICS AND GOVERNANCE OF BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH: THEORY AND PRACTICE (Daniel Strech & Marcel Mertz eds. 2016): 13-28.
  • Retrospective Essay, On H.M. Oliver’s “Established Expectations and American Economic Policies,”, 125 Ethics 829 (2015).
  • Equality via Mobility: Why Socioeconomic Mobility Matters for Relational Equality, Distributive Equality, and Equality of Opportunity, 31 Soc. Phil. & Pol’y 158 (2015).
  • Priority-Setting, Cost-Effectiveness, and the Affordable Care Act, 41 Am. J.L. & Med. 119 (2015).
  • The Medical Cost Pandemic: Why Limiting Access to Cost-Effective Treatments Hurts the Global Poor, 15 Chi. J. Int’l L. 559 (2015).
  • Clinical Research: Should Patients Pay to Play?, 7 Sci. Translational Med. 298 (2015). Fifth author, with Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Steve Joffe, Christine Grady, and David Wendler.
  • When, and How, Should Cognitive Bias Matter to Law?, 32 Law & Ineq. 31 (2014).
  • The Tarasoff Rule: The Implications of Interstate Variation and Gaps in Professional Training, 42 J. Am. Acad. Psychiatry & L. 469 (2014). Second author, with Rebecca A. Johnson and Dominic Sisti.
  • Democratic Deliberation and the Ethical Review of Human Subjects Research, in Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future (I. Glenn Cohen & Holly Fernandez Lynch eds. 2014): 157-72.
  • Poster, Offensive Defensive Medicine: The Ethics of Digoxin Injections in Response to the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, 90 Contraception 304 (2014). Second author, with Colleen Denny and Elena Gates.
  • Libertarian Patriarchalism: Nudges, Procedural Roadblocks, and Reproductive Choice, 35 Women’s Rts. L. Rep. 273 (2014). Invited symposium contribution.
  • What Marriage Law Can Learn from Citizenship Law (And Vice Versa), 22 Tul. J. L. & Sexuality 103 (2013). First Prize, 2012 National LGBT Bar Association Student Writing Competition; Article of the Day, ImmigrationProf Blog.
  • Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions,, 373 Lancet 423 (2009). First author, with Ezekiel Emanuel and Alan Wertheimer. Reprinted in ETHICAL ISSUES IN MODERN MEDICINE, 8th ed. (John Arras, Bonnie Steinbock, and Alex London eds. 2012).
  • Misuse Made Plain: Evaluating Concerns About Neuroscience in National Security, 1 Ajob Neurosci. 15 (2010). Seventh author, with Kelly Lowenberg, Brenda M. Simon, Amy Knight Burns, Libby Greismann, Jennifer M. Halbleib, David L.M. Preston, Harker Rhodes, and Emily M. Murphy.
  • Standing by Our Principles: Meaningful Guidance, Moral Foundations, and Multi-Principle Methodology in Medical Scarcity, 4 Am. J. Bioethics 46 (2010). First author, with Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Alan Wertheimer.
  • Note, Risk, Everyday Intuitions, and the Institutional Value of Tort Law, 62 Stan. L. Rev. 1445 (2010).
  • Are Physicians Willing to Ration Health Care? Conflicting Findings in a Systematic Review of Survey Research, 90 Health Pol’y 113 (2009). Second author, with Daniel Strech, Georg Marckmann, and Marion Danis.
  • Letter, Ethical Criteria for Allocating Health-Care Resources–Authors' Reply, 373 Lancet 1425 (2009). First author, with Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Alan Wertheimer.
  • The Current State of Medical School Education in Bioethics, Health Law, and Health Economics, 36 J.L. Med. & Ethics 89 (2008). First author, with Linden Elder, Laura Sedig, Leonardo Flores & Ezekiel J. Emanuel.
  • Including Persons with HIV Infection in Cancer Clinical Trials, 26 J. Clin. Oncology 1027 (2008). First author, with Richard F. Little and Christine Grady.