Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBE
John Russell Dickson, MD Presidential Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics
Assistant Faculty Director of Online Education
Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics
Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBE, is an attorney-bioethicist and the John Russell Dickson, MD, Presidential Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics. She is also the assistant faculty director of Online Education in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine. Prof. Fernandez Lynch earned her BA, Master of Bioethics, and JD all from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to returning to the university as a faculty member, she was executive director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School and Teaching Faculty in the Master of Bioethics program at Harvard Medical School. She has also worked as an attorney in private practice focused on pharmaceuticals regulation, and as a bioethicist at the NIH’s Division of AIDS and President Obama's Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.
Prof. Fernandez Lynch’s scholarly work focuses primarily on the ethics and regulation of human subjects research, as well as the law and ethics of conscientious refusals in health care. She is the founder and chair of the Consortium to Advance Effective Research Ethics Oversight (AEREO), established in 2018 to carry out an empirical research agenda to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of research ethics review and oversight by IRBs and Human Research Protection Programs. She has also served as a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP) since 2014. Prof. Fernandez Lynch’s work has been published in leading bioethics, medical, and law journals, including JAMA; The New England Journal of Medicine; Science; Health Affairs; The Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics; and The American Journal of Bioethics, in addition to popular outlets such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and STAT. She is the author of Conflicts of Conscience in Health Care: An Institutional Compromise (MIT Press 2008), as well as the co-editor of books covering human subjects research regulation; FDA regulation of drugs and new technologies; health law and behavioral economics; law, religion, and health; biospecimen research; big data, health law, and bioethics; and transparency in health care (forthcoming).
Within the department’s online education initiatives, Prof. Fernandez Lynch plays a primary role in supporting the academic progress of students pursuing the Master of Health Care Innovation. She is also the curriculum director of online medical ethics education, overseeing the training of Penn medical students in clinical and research ethics.