Kelly K. Dineen, RN, JD, PhD
Kelly K. Dineen, RN, JD, PhD

Kelly K. Dineen, RN, JD, PhD

Associate Professor
Director, Health Law Program
School of Law

Academic Appointments


  • Law


  • Associate Professor

Secondary Appointment

  • Medical Humanities

Teaching Activity

  • Health Law Survey, Bioethics and the Law, Torts, Drug and Device Law and Policy


Kelly K. Dineen is the director of the health law program at Creighton University School of Law and an Assistant Professor of Law. She 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. Professor Dineen practiced nursing for over a decade before attending law school, first in a neurosurgical and abdominal transplant intensive care unit and then in a functional neurosurgery practice primarily caring for patients with movement disorders and high impact chronic pain. After law school, Professor Dineen practiced health care law, representing providers and organizations in matters ranging from administrative appeals to licensure issues to fraud and abuse concerns. In academia, she served as the Assistant Director for the nation's top health law program at Saint Louis University. She also served as the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at Saint Louis University School of Law as well as a faculty member in health law and ethics, teaching bioethics and the law and drug and device law. Professor Dineen has served on multiple hospital ethics committees, Institutional Review Boards, and Conflicts of Interest in Research committees. Her research is highly interdisciplinary and focuses on the impact of decision making by law makers, policy makers, and providers on health care quality.  Currently she is working on issues around opioid and drug policy as well as the impact of decision making on patients with highly stigmatized conditions; especially pain, substance use disorder (addiction), and serious mental illness. Her work has been published in leading health law journals, such as the American Journal of Law & Medicine, the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, and the Houston Journal of Health Law & Policy. Professor Dineen has been quoted by media outlets, including the Washington Post, the Associated, and NPR. A more complete listing of her scholarship, teaching, and research interests can be found on her Curriculum Vitae.

Publications and Presentations


  • 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 & 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, Definitions Matter: A Taxonomy of Inappropriate Prescribing to Shape Effective Opioid Policy and Reduce Patient Harm, 67 U. Kan. L. Rev. 961, 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 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


  • 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

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • 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)


Current Research Projects

  • Health care provider decision making and professionalism; health inequities; the impact of decisions by regulators, policymakers, and providers on socially disenfranchised and stigmatized groups (including individuals with chronic pain, addiction/substance use disorders, serious mental illness, and suicidality); legal regulation of health care providers; opioid policy and drug policy generally.

Awards and Honors

  • Oral and Written Dissertation Awarded with Distinction, Saint Louis University , 2015
  • Legal Scholar, Women's Justice Awards, Missouri Lawyers Weekly, 2013
  • Leadership Award, Saint Louis University Women's Commission, 2011
  • Nominee-University Faculty Member of the Year, Saint Louis University, 2007
  • Team Coach, National Health Law Moot Court Champions, American Society for Legal Medicine, 2006