• Anne Barnhill

Anne Barnhill, PhD


Anne Barnhill, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy.  She is also a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Barnhill is a philosopher and bioethicist.  She works on food ethics, food policy, public health ethics, the ethics of obesity prevention and healthy eating policies, and the ethics of influence and consent in research and clinical practice.  Her recent work includes papers on the ethics of policies that limit food choice and the ethics of clinical use of placebos.  Along with the philosophers Mark Budolfson and Tyler Doggett, she is co-writing The Ethics of Food: An Introductory Textbook (Oxford University Press) and co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics

Dr. Barnhill studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as an undergraduate at Princeton University.  She received her Ph.D. in philosophy from New York University in 2009.  Before coming to Penn in 2012, Anne was a Faculty Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and a Greenwall Fellow in Bioethics and Health Policy at Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University.

Selected Publications

Anne Barnhill and Franklin G. Miller:

“Placebo and Deception: A Commentary,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (forthcoming)

Anne Barnhill, Mark Budolfson, and Tyler Doggett:

The Ethics of Food: An Introductory Textbook (under contract with Oxford University Press).

Anne Barnhill:

2014. “What is Manipulation?” in Manipulation, eds. Michael Weber and Christian Coons, Oxford University Press.

Anne Barnhill, Katherine F. King, Nancy Kass, Ruth Faden: 

2014. “The Value of Unhealthy Eating and the Ethics of Healthy Eating Policy,” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 24, no.3 187-217 

Jennifer K. Walter and Anne Barnhill:

2013. "Good and Bad Ideas in Obesity Prevention." Hastings Center Report 43(3): 6-7.

Anne Barnhill and Katherine F. King:

2013. "Equity Critiques in Food Policy: The Case of Sweetened Beverages." The Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics (Spring 2013).

Anne Barnhill:

2012. "Clinical Use of Placebos: Still the Physician's Prerogative?" Hastings Center Report 42(3).

Anne Barnhill:

2011. "Impact and Ethics of Excluding Sweetened Beverages from the SNAP program." American Journal of Public Health 101(11).

Anne Barnhill:

2011. "What It Takes to Defend Deceptive Placebo Use." Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 21(3).


New York University, PhD, Philosophy

Princeton University, AB, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 


In the News

Is Honesty the Best Policy When Giving Placebos to Patients? (American Medical News)
Dr. Barnhill's work on placebos had been discussed in The Portland Tribune, Medical Ethics Advisor, and American Medical News.