Travis N. Rieder, PhD

Director of the MBE Program; Assistant Director for Education Initiatives; Associate Research Professor


1809 Ashland Avenue
Room 201
Baltimore, MD 21205

Travis N. Rieder, PhD, is the Assistant Director for Education Initiatives, Director of the Master of Bioethics degree program and Associate Research Professor at the Berman Institute of Bioethics. He is also a Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Public Health Advocacy within the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

For more information about Travis and his work, you may also visit his personal website.

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Travis’ work tends to fall into one of two, quite distinct research programs. The first concerns ethics and policy questions about sustainability and planetary limits. Much of this research has been on issues in climate change ethics and procreative ethics with a particular focus on the intersection of the two – that is, on the question of responsible procreation in the era of climate change.  His publications have appeared in several journals on this topic, as well as in a short book with Springer, entitled Toward a Small Family Ethic (2016). He also works on food ethics related to climate change and sustainability, and is currently a member of the Global Food Ethics and Policy team, focusing on ethical issues concerning high-emissions food, in particular animal-sourced foods.

The second, and much newer, research program concerns ethical and policy issues surrounding America’s opioid epidemic. In this area, Travis has published an essay in Health Affairs concerning physician responsibility for safely weaning patients off prescription opioids, and co-authored a National Academy of Medicine Perspective Paper on Physician Responsibility in combating the opioid crisis.

In addition to his more scholarly writing, Travis is firmly committed to doing bioethics with the public, and to that end writes and interviews regularly for the popular media; his work has appeared in very many high-impact publications, including The Guardian, Washington Post, NPR’s All Things Considered, New Republic, and IFLScience. He writes regularly for The Conversationand blogs occasionally at The Huffington Post and the Berman Institute Bioethics Bulletin.

Research Interests

  • Ethical and policy issues surrounding the use of prescription and illicit opioids
  • Ethics and policy questions about sustainability and planetary limits, with a particular focus on the intersection of climate change ethics and procreative ethics


  • PhD, Philosophy, Georgetown University
  • MA, Philosophy, University of South Carolina
  • BA, Philosophy, Hanover College

Recent Publications

Opioid Crisis

Travis N. Rieder. 2018. “Pain Medicine during an Opioid Epidemic Needs More Transparency, Not Less: Commentary on Gligorov’s ‘Telling the Truth About Pain’.” Forthcoming in American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience.

Adams, S., C. Blanco, H. Chaudhry, H. Chen, R. Chou, M. Christopher, P. Harris, S. Levin, S. Mackey, E. McCance-Katz, P. Moore, J. Rathmell, Travis N. Rieder, B. Twillman. 2017. “First, Do No Harm: Marshaling Clinician Leadership to Counter the Opioid Epidemic.” Special Publication from the National Academy of Medicine, Washington, D.C.

Travis N. Rieder. 2017. “In Opioid Withdrawal, with No Help in Sight.” Health Affairs, 36(1): 182-185.

Climate Change

Jake Earl, Colin Hickey, Travis N. Rieder. 2017. “Fertility, Immigration, and the Fight against Climate Change.” Bioethics, 31: 582-589.

Marcus Hedahl, Travis N. Rieder. 2017. “Don’t Feed the Trolls: Bold Climate Action in an Age of Trump and Denialism.” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, Special Issue: Trump and the 2016 Election.

Travis N. Rieder. 2016. Toward a Small Family Ethic: How Overpopulation and Climate Change are Affecting the Morality of Procreation(Springer).

Colin Hickey, Travis N. Rieder, Jake Earl. 2016. “Population Engineering and the Fight against Climate Change.” Social Theory and Practice. 42(4): 845-870.