Journal Home

Penn Law Home

Extraordinarily prolific, Allen-Castellitto has authored dozens of articles, chapters, and books since the mid-1980s. Even a specific focus on her health law research does little to shorten the list, since she has written on the topic for many prestigious publications. On the topic of abortion, she has written extensively on issues related to abortion law, particularly the importance of access to abortion choices for women of all races. In addition, she has contributed entries for both abortion and privacy in health care to the Encyclopedia of Bioethics. On the topic of AIDS, Allen-Castellitto was part of a working group that wrote about women and AIDS. Her chapter "Moral Multiculturalism, Child-bearing and AIDS" in AIDS and Childbearing: Public Privacy, Private Lives (eds. Faden and Kass, NY: Oxford University, 1996) addresses the ethics of HIV-positive women having babies. She has also written about surrogate parenting, and genetic testing, and is currently working on an article that addresses issues of adoption and mental health.

Her current research projects include two books scheduled for publication next year. Privacy and Accountability examines the case against privacy, exploring the extent to which people have an obligation to disclose information. "For instance," she asks, "if a person discovers that he or she carries a Huntington's Disease gene, does that person have an ethical obligation to disclose it to other family members who may be carriers, or a right to keep the information private?" Another work-in-progress, After Privacy, explores whether, in a liberal society, government should force or encourage people to respect their own privacy. "This is a difficult point because it might suggest censorship or oppression," she says, "but I want to argue that there is room for public efforts to make people care more about their privacy as well as others."

Allen-Castellitto has made significant contributions as a consultant on a variety of health issues. In reproductive health, she served as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood in Washington DC, as well as on the organization's national board. While in Washington, she served as a legal consultant for CNN and CBS, and conducted on-camera interviews for "Nightline" and "Face the Nation" on Supreme Court cases related to reproductive rights and abortion. In genetics research, she was appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to a committee that advised the Director for the National Center for Human Genome Research on issues relating to federal funding of genetics research. In addition, she has helped the National Institutes of Health and Department of Education assess the privacy implications of ongoing genetics research, and address issues related to the inclusion of women in clinical trials, and minorities in health research.

"I've had some wonderful opportunities to use my academic expertise to assist our policymakers," says Allen-Castellitto. At Penn, she currently serves on the Bioethics Advisory Committee and the Women's Studies Advisory Committee. And recently, University of Pennsylvania president Judith Rodin appointed her to the University Committee on Manufacturing Responsibility, which addresses student concerns about the manufacture of university apparel in "sweat shops."

Allen-Castellitto's thoughtful, organized approach works well in her complex and evolving field. "Privacy law is one of the most exciting emerging specialties, and I feel privileged to be part of the founding mothers and fathers of the privacy law movement that's sweeping the country in response to developments in computer technology, medicine, and health care," she says. Allen-Castellitto's leadership and innovation will help to define the field, and educate a new generation of lawyers at Penn during a time of transformation in the areas of privacy rights and the health sciences. That's an invaluable legacy.