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Paul A. Lombardo

Bobby Lee Cook Professor of Law    

Ph.D., University of Virginia
J.D., University of Virginia
M.A., Loyola University of Chicago
A.B., Rockhurst College (Kansas City, Mo.)


Paul A. Lombardo, Bobby Lee Cook Professor of Law, is a lawyer/historian who serves as a senior advisor to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, where he has participated in studies such as Ethically Impossible”: STD Research in Guatemala from 1946-1948 (2011),Moral Science: Protecting Participants in Human Subjects Research (2011), and Privacy and Progress in Whole Genome Sequencing (2012).  He has been interviewed by the the BBC,USA TodayNPR,  CBS Evening News and Anderson Cooper 360, and Al Jazeera: English. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, and has lectured at dozens of universities in the U.S. and in Italy, Russia, Pakistan and Canada.

Lombardo is a member of the board of directors of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. He has been a consultant and participated in Study Sections, Special Emphasis Panels or Working Groups of eight different Institutes of the National Institutes of Health, served as a committee member for the Institute of Medicine as well as the National Human Research Protection Advisory Committee.

He has published extensively on topics in health law, medico-legal history, and bioethics and is best known for his work on the legal history of the American eugenics movement. His books include: Fletcher’s Clinical Ethics, (3rd ed.)( 2005); Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court and Buck v. Bell (2008) and A Century of Eugenics in America: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Era (2011).

Lombardo advised the Cold Spring Harbor (NY) Laboratory panel that assembled the digital Image Archive on American Eugenics Movement, and was a consultant and interview subject for DNA Interactive: Chronicle, a website that explores the history of eugenics alongside the history of genetics. He was also a contributor and consultant for the U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum exhibit, Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race. 

In 2002, he sponsored an historical marker correcting the historical record concerning the Supreme Court’s infamous decision in the 1927 eugenical sterilization case of Buck v. Bell.  His advocacy for state governmental repudiation of past eugenic policies was successful first inVirginia and has extended to six other states.

Lombardo has been a historical consultant for several films, including The Lynchburg Story (Discovery Channel, 1993), Race: the Power of an Illusion Part I, The Difference Between Us (PBS, April 2003), and The Golden Door (presented by Martin Scorsese/ Miramax, 2006) a feature film that explored the impact of eugenic screening on early 20th century immigrants at Ellis Island. Most recently he appeared in Hygiene Raciale (2012), a documentary on the history of eugenics broadcast on French TV.

From 1985-1990 Lombardo practiced law in California. From 1990 until 2006 he served on the faculty of the Schools of Law and Medicine at the University of Virginia, where he directed the Center for Mental Health Law at the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy and the Program in Law and Medicine at the Center for Biomedical Ethics. In 1997 he drafted Virginia’s Patient Health Records Privacy Act.  Lombardo received his A.B. from Rockhurst College (Kansas City, Mo.), his M.A. from Loyola University of Chicago and both his Ph.D. and J.D. from the University of Virginia.

He joined the Georgia State Law faculty in 2006. As a member of the Center for Law, Health and Society, he teaches courses in Genetics and the Law, the History of Bioethics, Mental Health Law and the Legal Regulation of Human Research.

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