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Josephine Johnston, LLB, MBHL

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Josephine Johnston 2015Josephine Johnston is a New Zealand-trained lawyer with a Masters degree in bioethics and health law from the University of Otago. She joined the staff of the Hastings Center in August of 2003 as a Research Scholar, and has been Director of Research since 2012. 

Ms. Johnston’s research focuses on controversial uses of medicine and biomedical technology, particularly in human reproduction, psychiatry and neuroscience.  She has written about ethical and legal issues associated with pediatric psychiatry, stem cell research, assisted reproduction, the patenting of biomedical innovations, and the management of financial conflicts of interest in research. Ms. Johnston is currently researching the ethical implications of using new genetic technologies during pregnancy and, with colleagues at UCSF, in newborn babies. She is also a member of Columbia University Medical Center’s CEER looking at the ethical, legal and social implications of psychiatric, neurologic and behavioral genetics (http://braingenethics.cumc.columbia.edu). In addition, Ms. Johnston has, with colleagues at Kent Place School, developed a Hastings Center-style research program for high school students. 

Selected Publications

Josephine Johnston, Michael K. Gusmano, and Pasquale Patrizio, “Reducing Rate of Fertility Multiples Requires Policy Changes,” JAMA Pediatrics 201; 169 (3): 287.

Josephine Johnston, “Is There Room for Not Knowing ‘Everything’?” Hastings Center Report 2015; 45(1): inside back cover.

Josephine Johnston and Miriam Zoll, “Is Freezing Your Eggs Dangerous? A Primer,” The New Republic, November 1, 2014.

Josephine Johnston, Michael K. Gusmano, and Pasquale Patrizio, “In Search of Real Autonomy for Fertility Patients,” Health Economics, Policy and Law 2014; June 9: 1-8. [E-pub ahead of print] DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1744133114000164.

Josephine Johnston, Michael K. Gusmano, and Pasquale Patrizio, “Preterm Births, Multiples, and Fertility Treatment,” Fertility and Sterility 2014; 102(1): 36-40.

Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston, “Neuroimaging: Beginning to Appreciate Its ComplexitiesHastings Center Report 2014; 44(2): S2-S7.

David Wasserman and Josephine Johnston, “Seeing Responsibility: Can Neuroimaging Teach Us Anything About Moral and Legal Responsibility?Hastings Center Report 2014; 44(2): S37-S49.

Josephine Johnston, “Prenatal Identification of Increased Risk for Schizophrenia,” Braingenethics, January 9, 2014.

Josephine Johnston, “The FDA and 23andMe: Overreaching and overreacting?” Braingenethics, December 2, 2013.

Josephine Johnston, “The Ghost of the Schizophrenogenic Mother,” Virtual Mentor 2013; 15:801-805.

Josephine Johnston and Michael K. Gusmano, “Why We Should All Pay for Fertility Treatment,” Hastings Center Report 2013; 43(2): 18-21.

Amy Wilkerson, Kathaliya Wongsatittham and Josephine Johnston, “The NIH Stem Cell Registry: An Absence of Gamete Donor Consent,” Cell Stem Cell 2013; 12(2):147-8.

Josephine Johnston, “Pitch Perfect,” The Scientist 2012; 26(1): 24-25.

Josephine Johnston, "Normalizing Atypical Genitalia: How a Heated Debate Went Astray,” Hastings Center Report 2012; 42(6): 32-44.

Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston, “As Tests to Predict Alzheimer’s Emerge, So May Debates Over the Right to Die,” TIME.com, June 8, 2011.

Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston, “Troubled children: Diagnosing, Treating, and Attending to Context,” Hastings Center Report 2011; 41(2): S1-S31.

Thomas H Murray and Josephine Johnston (ed.s), Trust and Integrity in Biomedical Research: The Case of Financial Conflicts of Interest, Baltimore (MD); Johns Hopkins University Press: 2010.

Josephine Johnston, “Why I Mostly Love ASB Bank’s IVF Ad,” Bioethics Forum, December 20, 2010.; republished on Medicine, Mind and Morals (a Psychology Today blog), December 21, 2010:.

Erik Parens, Josephine Johnston and Gabrielle A. Carlson, “Pediatric Mental Health Care Dysfunction Disorder?” New England Journal of Medicine 2010; 362(20): 1853-1855. 

Erik Parens, Josephine Johnston and Gabrielle A. Carlson, response to Pies; Hoffman, Rahtz and Wein; Biederman, Wozniak and Faraone (Correspondence), New England Journal of Medicine 2010; 363 (12):1188-9.

Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston, “Controversies Concerning the Diagnosis and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder in Children,” Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2010; 4:9-23.

Josephine Johnston, “America’s Stem Cell Mess,” The Scientist 2010; 24(10): 33.

Josephine Johnston, “The Trouble with Twin Births: Government Limits and Price Controls,” New York Times Room for Debate, October 11, 2009.

Josephine Johnston, “Judging Octomom,” Hastings Center Report 2009; 39(3): 23-25. Reprinted in David DeGrazia , Thomas A Mappes and Jeffrey Brand-Ballard (ed.s), Biomedical Ethics, 7th Edition, New York; McGraw-Hill, 2010: 176-8.

Josephine Johnston, “At Issue: Should egg and sperm donors be paid? Yes” CQ Researcher 2009; 19(19):465.

Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston, “Facts, Values, and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2009; 3:1.

Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston, Facts, Values, and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2009; 3:1.

Josephine Johnston, “The New Stem Cell Policy and Public Opinion,” Bioethics Forum, March 27, 2009

Erik Parens, Josephine Johnston, and Jacob Moses, Do We Need Synthetic Bioethics, Science 2008; 321(5895): 1449.

Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston, Understanding the Agreements and Controversies surrounding Childhood Psychopharmacology, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2008; 2:5, reprinted in Focus 2008; 6(3): 322-330.

Josephine Johnston, Tied up in Nots Over Genetic Parentage, Hastings Center Report 2007; 37(4):28-31.

Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston, Does it make sense to speak of neuroethics? EMBO Reports 2007; 8(Special Issue):S61-S64.

Josephine Johnston and Angela Wasunna, Patents, Biomedical Research, and Treatments: Examining Concerns, Canvassing Solutions, Hastings Center Report 2007; 37(1) (Special Report): S1-S36.

Josephine Johnston, Paying Egg Donors: Exploring the Arguments, Hastings Center Report 2006; 36(1):28-31.



Nightline Report on Elective Egg Freezing

Bioethics Briefs: Controversies Surrounding the Pediatric Bipolar Diagnosis & Treatment