Program Director, Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications Research Program

National Human Genome Research Institute

National Institutes of Health

Bethesda, Maryland



Dr. McEwen received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, magna cum laude, in 1977 from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota; a Juris Doctorate in 1982 from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois; and a Doctor of Philosophy  in Social Policy in 1996 from the Florence Heller Graduate School of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.  She practiced law with the Chicago law firm of Schiff Hardin and Waite from 1982 to 1984 and served as a law clerk to the Honorable William T. Hart of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois from 1986 to 1988. 


In 1988, Dr. McEwen joined the faculty of Boston College Law School, where she taught until 1999.  Between 1986 and 1998, she also served as an adjunct or visiting lecturer at several universities and law schools, including Brandeis University, Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, and the New England School of Law.  She was a research attorney for the Family Law Advocacy Project of the Massachusetts Committee for Public Council Services in Boston from 1989 to 1991, and worked with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center’s Division of Social Sciences, Ethics and Law from 1991 to 1996.


Between 1991 and 1996, while at the Shriver Center, Dr. McEwen served as investigator on several research grants from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Human Genome Program .  In 1999, she accepted a position as a Special Expert at the National Institutes of Health.  She is now a Program Director for the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications Research Program at the National Human Genome Research Institute.


Dr. McEwen has spoken and written extensively on the ethical, legal, and social implications of genetics, particularly in the areas of genetic privacy and discrimination, DNA banking, and forensic uses of genetic information.  She is a member of the bar of both Illinois and Massachusetts, and has been actively involved in a number of legal and bioethics organizations, including: the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics; the Law and Society Association; the American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities; the American Public Health Association; and the Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities of the American Bar Association.