In addition to his positions at the law school, David Orentlicher is an adjunct professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. Before coming to IU, he served as director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the American Medical Association for six-and-a-half years. While there, he led the drafting of the AMA’s first patients’ bill of rights, guidelines for physician investment in health care facilities that were incorporated into federal law, and guidelines on gifts to physicians from industry that have become the industry standard and a standard recognized by the federal government. He helped develop many other positions—on end-of-life matters, organ transplantation, and reproductive issues—that have been cited by courts and government agencies in their decision-making. He also held adjunct appointments at the University of Chicago Law School and Northwestern University Medical School.
Following law school, where he was a commentary and book review office chair of the Harvard Law Review, he clerked for the Honorable Alvin B. Rubin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He has practiced both medicine and law, each for about two years, and is a member of the American Law Institute.
He has held a number of distinguished visiting professorships, serving as Visiting DeCamp Professor in Bioethics at Princeton University, Frederick Distinguished Visiting Professor of Ethics at DePauw University, and George E. Allen Professor of Law at T. C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond. He has published Matters of Life and Death with Princeton University Press, and is co-author of the casebook Health Care Law and Ethics, now in its 7th edition. He also has written widely in leading legal and medical journals on critical issues in medical ethics, including end-of-life decisions, new reproductive technologies, and organ transplantation, as well as on affirmative action and other questions in constitutional law.
As a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from November 2002 to November 2008, he authored legislation to make health care insurance more affordable, increase the pool of venture capital for new businesses, and ensure better protection of children from abuse and neglect.