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Kelly Kamille Dineen, RN, JD, PhD

Director, Health Law Program - Health Law Program


Kelly Dineen


School of Law
Faculty - Law
Medical Humanities
Administration - Law
LAWC - Ahmanson Law Center

Kelly Kamille Dineen, RN, JD, PhD

Director, Health Law Program - Health Law Program


Kelly K. Dineen is an Associate Professor of Law and the director of the health law program at Creighton University School of Law, where she teaches health care law, bioethics, torts, and public health law seminars that have focused on pandemic ethics or drug policy, depending upon the semester offered. She has a secondary appointment as a professor of medical humanities at the Creighton University School of Medicine. Dr. Dineen holds a PhD, with distinction, in health care ethics from Saint Louis University, as well as a JD, with a concentration in health care law. Before attending law school, she worked as a nurse in neurosurgery and transplant ICUs, clinical research, as well as with functional neurosurgeons caring for people with chronic persistent pain and movement disorders with implanted programmable medical devices. After law school, Dr. Dineen practiced in the health law practice group at Husch Blackwell and later held academic and administrative roles at Saint Louis University. She is an expert on health law, ethics, and policy and researches and writes on issues related to public health policy, drug use and controlled substances prescribing, pandemic ethics, and health inequities and discrimination. Dr. Dineen’s work is highly interdisciplinary and her recent work has focused on the impact of harm-inducing laws and biased decision-making by health care providers on people with substance use disorders, chronic pain, and in other stigmatized and minoritized populations.  Dr. Dineen has served by invitation for both the American Bar Association and the American Health Lawyers Association on working groups on the opioid related crises. She is the co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Opioid Crisis Task Force for which she organized the first ever meeting on the overdose crisis co-sponsored by the American Bar Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine in 2021. Recently, Dr. Dineen co-authored two amici briefs with Jennifer Oliva on behalf of U.S. professors of health law and policy before the United States Supreme Court in Ruan v. U.S. regarding criminal distribution under The Controlled Substances Act as applied to prescribers. Her work has been published in law and interdisciplinary journals including Arizona State Law Review, Kansas Law Review, American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Addiction Medicine, Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Hasting Center Reports, and others. She is the co-editor and author of several chapters in Prescription Drug Diversion and Pain: History, Policy, and Treatment, published by Oxford University Press. Dr. Dineen has been interviewed by many media outlets, including the The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, STAT News, LAW360,, and NPR.

Research Focus

Health law and regulation; bioethics (including end of life and reproductive issues); opioids, pain, addiction; life sciences law (drug, device, and biotechnology regulation, including clinical research compliance); health care professional regulation and discipline; professionalism; neuroscience and the law; medical business ethics (including fraud and abuse and conflict of interest issues)







  • Kelly K. Dineen, Ethical and Legal Issues, in Priorities in Critical Care Nursing 8 (Linda D. Urden, Kathleen M. Stacy, Mary E. Lough eds., 8th ed.) 2020
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Legal Issues, in Critical Care Nursing: Diagnosis and Management 24 (Linda D. Urden, Kathleen M. Stacy & Mary E. Lough eds., 8th ed.) 2018
  • Kelly K. Dineen & Adam J. Ruggles, Legal Regulation of Prescription Opioids Prescribers, in Prescription Drug Diversion and Pain: History, Policy and Treatment 17 (John F. Peppin, John J. Coleman, Kelly K. Dineen & Adam J. Ruggles eds.) 2018
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Opioid Prescribing in Stigmatized and Special Populations, in Prescription Drug Diversion and Pain: History, Policy and Treatment 190 (John F. Peppin, John J. Coleman, Kelly K. Dineen & Adam J. Ruggles eds.) 2018
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Ethical Issues, in Critical Care Nursing: Diagnosis and Management 12 (Linda D. Urden, Kathleen M. Stacy & Mary E. Lough eds., 8th ed.) 2018
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Ethical Issues in Critical Care, IN Urden L., Stacy K., & Lough M. CRITICAL CARE NURSING: DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT (8th ed.) 2017
  • Exploring Integrity in Medicine: The Bander Center for Medical Business Ethics Casebook (Rebecca L. Volpe, Erin Bakanas, Kelly Dineen & James DuBois eds., Rev. ed.) 2016
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Legal & Ethical Issues in Critical Care, IN Urden L., Stacy K., & Lough M. PRIORITIES IN CRITICAL CARE NURSING (7th ed.) 2015
  • Exploring Integrity in Medicine: The Bander Center for Medical Business Ethics Casebook (Rebecca L. Volpe, Erin Bakanas, Kelly Dineen & James DuBois eds.) 2014
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Legal Issues, in Critcal Care Nursing: Diagnosis and Management 30 (Linda D. Urden, Kathleen M. Stacy & Mary E. Lough eds., 7th ed.) 2013
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Patients as Victims, in Toxic Nursing: Managing Bullying, Bad Attitudes and Total Turmoil 225 (Cheryl Dellasega & Rebecca L. Volpe eds) 2013


  • Kelly K. Dineen, Abigail Lowe, Nancy E. Kass, Lisa M. Lee, Matthew K. Wynia, Teck Chuan Voo, Seema Mohapatra, Rachel Lookadoo, Athena K. Ramos, Jocelyn J. Herstein, Sara Donovan, James V. Lawler, John J. Lowe, Shelly Schwedhelm, and Nneka O. Sederstrom, Treating Workers as Essential Too: An Ethical Framework for Public Health Interventions to Prevent and Control COVID-19 Infections among Meat-Processing Facility Workers and Their Communities in the United States, 19 J. BIOETHICAL INQUIRY 301 2022
  • Abigail E. Lowe, Kelly K. Dineen et al., Emerging Science, Personal Protective Equipment Guidance, and Resource Scarcity: Inaction and Inequity for Workers in Essential Industries, 19 HEALTH SEC. 564 (2021),, 2021
  • Kelly K. Dineen, It Is Not the Patient, It Is the System: Commentary on “How Advanced Directives Help when Patients Refuse Life-Saving Treatment Because of Their Substance Use”, 15 J. ADDICTION MED. 443 (2021)., 2021
  • Jennifer D. Oliva & Kelly K. Dineen, Advancing a Public Health-Promoting National Opioid Policy, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL PETRIE-FLOM CENTER: BILL OF HEALTH (Mar. 23, 2021), 2021
  • Kelly K. Dineen & Jennifer D. Oliva, Brief of Amici Curiae Professors of Health Law and Policy in Support of Petitioner, State v. Mata, No. 20-1410, U.S. May 7 2021
  • Kelly K. Dineen & Elizabeth Pendo, Ending the War on People with Substance Disorders in Health Care, AM. J. BIOETHICS, v. 21, no. 4 (2021), at 20 2021
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Disability Discrimination Against People with Substance Use Disorders by Postacute Care Nursing Facilities: It is Time to Stop Tolerating Civil Rights Violations, 15 J. ADDICTION MED. 18 2021
  • Kelly K. Dineen & Elizabeth Pendo, Substance Use Disorder, Discrimination, and the CARES Act: Using Disability Law to Inform Part 2 Rulemaking, 52 ARIZ. STATE L.J. 1143 2020
  • Seema Mohapatra, Kelly Dineen, Elizabeth Pendo & Kathy Cerminara, Get Your Advance Directives in Place Now, INSIDE INDIANA BUSINESS, June 8 2020
  • Athena K. Ramos, Abigail E. Lowe, Jocelyn J. Herstein, Shelly Schwedhelm, Kelly K. Dineen & John J. Lowe, Invisible No More: The Impact of COVID-19 on Essential Food Production Workers, 25 J. AGROMEDICINE 378 2020
  • Alison L. Antes, Kelly K. Dineen, Erin Bakanas, Tyler Zahrli, Jason D. Keune, Matthew J. Schuelke, & James M. DuBois, Professional Decision-Making in Medicine: Development of a New Measure and Preliminary Evidence of Validity, 15 PLOS ONE (Feb. 24, 2020), 2020
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Meat Processing Workers and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Subrogation of People, Public Health, and Ethics to Profits and a Path Forward, 14 ST. LOUIS U. J. HEALTH L. & POL’Y 7 2020
  • Abigail E. Lowe, Kelly K. Dineen, Nneka Sederstrum & Matt K. Wynia, Consultation Report: Cohorting COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 Patients in a Comfort-Only Care Unit, (Univ. of Neb. Med. Ctr. Glob. Ctr. for Health Sec. Ethics Advisory Comm., May 6, 2020), 2020
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Separating Treatment Myths from Reality, EXPERIENCE, Oct./Nov. 2019, at 10 2019
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Definitions Matter: A Taxonomy of Inappropriate Prescribing to Shape Effective Opioid Policy and Reduce Patient Harm, 67 U. Kan. L. Rev. 961 2019
  • Kelly Dineen, The Opioid Crisis: Understanding the Complexities, Acknowledging the Challenges, and Exploring Possible Solutions (Am. Health L. Ass’n, Feb. 18, 2019), (one of small group of facilitators involved in white paper production and provided substantial editing of draft report and additional research support) 2019
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Defining Misprescribing to Inform Prescription Opioid Policy, Hastings Cent. Rep., Jul./Aug. at 5 2018
  • James M. Dubois, John T. Chibnall, Emily E. Anderson, Heidi A. Walsh, Michelle Eggers, Kari Baldwin and Kelly K. Dineen, Exploring unnecessary invasive procedures in the United States: a retrospective mixed-methods analysis of cases from 2008-2016, 11 Patient Safety in Surgery 30 2017
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Introduction to the Symposium Edition, 10 Saint Louis U.J. Health L. & Poly 1  2017
  • Jalal B. Jalaly, Kelly K. Dineen & Ann Gronowski, A 30-Year-Old Patient Who Refuses to be Drug Tested, 62 Clinical Chemistry 807 2016
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Addressing Prescription Opioid Abuse Concerns in Context: Synchronizing Policy Solutions to Multiple Complex Public Health Problems, 40 L. & Psychol. Rev. 1 2016
  • Kelly K. Dineen & James DuBois, Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Can Physicians Prescribe Opioids to Treat Pain Adequately While Avoiding Legal Sanction?, 42 Am. J.L. & Med. 7 2016
  • Kelly Dineen, Pain, Complexity, and Opioids, HEALTHLAWPROF BLOG, (Oct. 2, 2014), 2014
  • Kelly Dineen, Mentally Ill While Black, HEALTHLAWPROF BLOG (Sept. 11, 2014), 2014
  • Kelly K. Dineen, Moral Disengagement of Medical Providers: Another Clue to the Continued Neglect of Treatable Pain?, 13 Houston J. Health L. & Pol'y 163 2013
  • Richard J. Bonnie, Stephanie Wright & Kelly K. Dineen, Legal Authority to Preserve Organs in Cases of Uncontrolled Cardiac Death: Preserving Family Choice, 36 J.L. Med. & Ethics 741 2008


  • Brief of Amici Curiae Professors of Health Law and Policy in Support of Petitioner, Ruan v. United States, No. 20-1410 (U.S. Dec. 23, 2021) (co-authored with Jennifer D. Oliva). 2021
  • Kelly K. Dineen & Daniel Goldberg, Editors, Symposium on Living in Pain in the Midst of the Opioid Crisis, 8 Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 3  2018
  • Symposium, Parenting Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders During the Transition to Adulthood, 2 Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 147 (Kelly Dineen & Margaret Bultas Symposium eds. & Introduction) 2012
  • Kathleen M. Boozang, Kelly K. Dineen, Alene V. Haskell, Barbara L. Miltenberger, Elizabeth A. Mushill & Robert L. Schwartz, Considerations for People with Disabilities and Their Families (American Health Lawyers Association Public Information Series) 2009
  • Kelly Dineen, Responsibility and Collaboration in Health Team Care, 11 Virtual Mentor 247 2009

Editing and Reviews

  • Prescription Drug Diversion and Pain: History, Policy, and Treatment (John F. Peppin, John J. Coleman, Kelly K. Dineen & Adam J. Ruggles eds.) 2018


  • The Opioid Crisis: Paths Forward to Mitigate Regulatory Failure, Utah Law Review Symposium, Salt Lake City, UT 2018
  • Update on the Opioid Crisis, St. Louis Areas Health Law Association, St. Louis, MO 2018
  • Impact on Caregivers: Moral Distress and Compassion Fatigue Relating to Caring for Patients with Addiction, 2018 Ethics Colloquium: Responding Compassionately to Addiction: A Catholic Perspective, Cincinnati, OH 2018
  • Defining Inappropriate Prescribing to Improve Opioid Policy Development and Evaluation,The Opioid Crisis and the Law, Kansas Law Review Symposium, Lawrence, KS 2018
  • Important Opioid Facts for Judges, Iowa Judicial Branch Judges Conference, Des Moines, IA 2018
  • Decision Making Errors and Opioid Policy, Health Law Professors’ Conference, Cleveland, OH 2018
  • Taboo Talks: Conversations about Sex and Reproductive Rights,Creighton University, Omaha, NE 2018
  • Addressing Pain in the Midst of Opioid Crisis: Alternative Facts and Discarded Realties, 30thAnnual Health Law Symposium, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 2018
  • Legal and Ethical Dilemmas in Dental Practice, American College of Dentists Meeting, Creighton Dental School, Omaha, NE 2018
  • Impact of Opioid Regulation on Legitimate Opioid Prescribing, UNLV School of Law Conference—Battling the Opioid Epidemic: Critical Insights from Healthcare and Law, February 2018
  • Angry White Men and the Alpha Male Blues: Shootings and Sexual Harassment, Speaking Truth Series Panel, Creighton University, Omaha, NE 2017
  • Disability, Vulnerability, and Inclusion: Clinical, Ethical, Legal, and Humanistic Perspectives, American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities, Annual Meeting, Kansas City, MO 2017
  • Pizza and Policy: Health Policy & Ethics Conversation on Health Reform, Creighton University Center for Health Policy and Ethics, Omaha, NE 2017
  • Ethics in Laboratory Medicine: Ethical and Legal Issues in Drug Testing, American Association of Clinical Chemistry, Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA 2017
  • Discussion Group: Hot Issues in Health Law and Public Health Ethics, moderator, panel member, and organizer, Southeastern American Law Schools Annual Meeting, Boca Raton, FL 2017
  • Sex, Drugs, and Mental Health: Ethics and Policy Around Taboo Issues in Health Law Practice, Nebraska State Bar Association, Health Law Section, Omaha, NE 2017
  • Illuminating Neuromodulation Device Industry Gifts to Physicians through the Sunshine Act Annual Health Law Professors Conference, June 2017, Atlanta, GA 2017


  • Oral and Written Dissertation Awarded with Distinction
    Saint Louis University
  • Legal Scholar, Women's Justice Awards
    Missouri Lawyers Weekly
  • Leadership Award
    Saint Louis University Women's Commission
  • Nominee-University Faculty Member of the Year
    Saint Louis University
  • Team Coach, National Health Law Moot Court Champions
    American Society for Legal Medicine