Faculty Scholars Program

Joel Michael Reynolds, PhD

Class of 2025
  • Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies
  • Senior Research Scholar, Kennedy Institute of Ethics
Georgetown University
Scholar Project

Joel Michael Reynolds is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies at Georgetown University, a Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, a Senior Advisor to The Hastings Center, and core faculty in Georgetown’s Disability Studies Program. He is the founder of The Journal of Philosophy of Disability and co-founder of Oxford Studies in Disability, Ethics, and Society.

Reynolds is the author or co-editor of five books, including The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality (University of Minnesota Press, 2022), The Disability Bioethics Reader (Routledge, 2022), and The Meaning of Disability (Oxford University Press, 2024). In 2020, he co-edited a special issue of The Hastings Center Report entitled, “For All of Us? On the Weight of Genomic Knowledge.” Dr. Reynolds regularly speaks with medical students and practitioners across specialties concerning how to improve the quality and equity of care for patients with disabilities based on his AMA Journal of Ethics article, “Three Things Clinicians Should Know About Disability.”

Reynolds’ work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is an honorary fellow of the McLaughlin College of Public Policy at York University and sits on the board of The Society for Philosophy and Disability. He previously held the inaugural Rice Family Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bioethics and the Humanities at The Hastings Center and the inaugural Laney Disability Studies Fellowship at Emory University.

For more information, visit: https://joelreynolds.me/

Scholar Focus Areas

Addressing the Roots of Disability Health Disparities

Grant Cycle: 2021 - 2022

What role do concepts of disability play in the multiple, significant health disparities faced by disabled people? Motivated by research suggesting that we lack the conceptual distinctions necessary to appreciate clinically relevant differences between types of disability, Prof. Reynolds’ project aims to develop a theory of disability that is appropriately complex and nuanced. Drawing upon decades of work in disability studies and philosophy of disability, this project raises vital questions about the roots of disability health disparities and seeks to ameliorate the longstanding tension between disability activism and medical institutions.


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