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When she’s not overseeing the day-to-day operations of the only law school in New York’s capital, Alicia Ouellette, Albany Law’s President and Dean, is steering the conversation about disability in bioethics.
This summer, Dean Ouellette’s essay, “Selection against Disability: Abortion, ART, and Access,” was published by the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. In it, she examined “the disability critique of both pre-implantation genetic selection and selective abortion,” arguing that “although the disability critique suggests problems with the widespread use of disability-based selection, the answer is not to increase restrictions on reproductive and familial liberty.”
Appearing in the same issue was a scholarly response to Dean Ouellette, titled “Normalizing Disability in Families” by Pitt Law’s Mary Crossley.
Dean Ouellette was also recently referenced in the article, “A Disability-Conscious Look at Genomic Sequencing in the NICU,” written by Indiana State University Prof. Michael J. Deem, PhD.
“Health care professionals and bioethicists perhaps can mitigate some of the effects of bias against disability by striving to become disability-conscious, to borrow a felicitous term from Alicia Ouellette,” wrote Deem, who serves as the Pediatric Ethics and Genomics Fellow at Kansas City’s Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics.
Dean Ouellette's book, Bioethics and Disability: Toward a Disability-Conscious Bioethics, was translated into Japanese earlier this year. The book, published by Cambridge University Press in 2011, takes on the tension between disability rights scholars and bioethicists.
Ouellette was inaugurated as Albany Law School’s 18th President and Dean on Sept. 10, 2015, after assuming the role July 1. Previously, Dean Ouellette served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Intellectual Life. She is a Professor of Law at Albany Law School and a Professor of Bioethics in the Union Graduate College/Mt. Sinai School of Medicine Program in Bioethics. Her research focuses on health law, disability rights, family law, children’s rights, and human reproduction, and she has authored numerous articles published in academic journals such as the American Journal of Law and Medicine, the Hastings Center Report, the American Journal of Bioethics, the Hastings Law Journal, the Indiana Law Journal and Oregon Law Review.
Before joining the law faculty, Dean Ouellette served as an Assistant Solicitor General in the New York State Attorney General’s office. As ASG, Dean Ouellette briefed and argued more than 100 appeals on issues ranging from termination of treatment for the terminally ill to the responsibility of gun manufacturers for injuries caused by handguns. Before that, Dean Ouellette worked in private practice and served as a confidential law clerk to Judge Howard Levine on the New York Court of Appeals. She has continued her advocacy work in select cases and was lead counsel on the law professors’ brief submitted in support of same-sex couples who sought the right to marry in New York state.
She earned an A.B. at Hamilton College and a J.D. from Albany Law School, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Albany Law Review.