Jacob M. Appel
Born (1973-02-21) February 21, 1973 (age 51)
New York City, U.S.
EducationBrown University (BA, MA)
Columbia University (MA, MPhil, MD)
New York University (MFA)
Harvard University (JD)
Albany Medical Center (MS)
City University of New York, Queens (MFA)
Mount Sinai Medical Center (MPH)
Genreshort story, essay, drama, novel, poem
jacobmappel.com Edit this at Wikidata

Jacob M. Appel (born February 21, 1973) is an American polymath, author, bioethicist, physician, lawyer and social critic.[1][2] He is best known for his short stories, his work as a playwright, and his writing in the fields of reproductive ethics, organ donation, neuroethics, and euthanasia.[1] Appel's novel The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up won the Dundee International Book Prize in 2012.[3][4][5] He is the director of Ethics Education in Psychiatry and a professor of psychiatry and medical education at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and he practices emergency psychiatry at the adjoining Mount Sinai Health System. Appel is the subject of the 2019 documentary film Jacob by director Jon Stahl.

Appel coined the term "whitecoat washing" to refer to nations using medical collaboration to distract from human rights abuses.[6]


Appel was born in the Bronx to Gerald B. Appel and Alice Appel and raised in Scarsdale, New York,[7] and Branford, Connecticut.[8] He completed his Bachelor of Arts at Brown University with double majors in English and American literature and in history (1995).[9]. He holds a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School (2003)[10][11][12] and a Doctor of Medicine from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (2009).[13] He completed his medical residency in psychiatry and medical fellowship in psychosomatic medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine as well as seven additional graduate degrees. He completed his medical residency in clinical psychiatry and medical fellowship in psychosomatic medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.[14][15]

Academic bioethics

Appel began his career in academic bioethics at Brown University, where he taught until 2005. He now serves on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, where he is Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine Education. He is also the Director of Ethics Education in Psychiatry and Medical Director of the East Harlem Health Outreach Project's mental health clinic. He has also taught medical ethics at New York University,[16][17] Columbia University,[18] and Albany Medical College. He is the author of a "Bioethics in Action" curriculum for The New York Times.[19][20] Appel was also previously a columnist for The Huffington Post and Opposing Views.

Appel has published on a range of topics in academic bioethics including advocating for the decriminalization of assisted suicide,[21] raising the possibility that this might be made available to both the terminally ill and those with intractable, long-term mental illness,[22][23] and the Groningen Protocol.[24] He has written in favor of abortion rights and fertility treatment for same-sex couples, as well as against electronic medical records, which he sees as poorly secured against hacking.[25] He has also argued in favor of the legalization of prostitution, polygamy and incest between consenting adults.[26] He has raised concerns regarding the possibility that employers will require their employees to use pharmaceuticals for cognitive enhancement and has urged that death row inmates be eligible to receive kidney transplants.[27][28] He generated considerable controversy for endorsing the mandatory use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis as part of the in vitro fertilization process to prevent the implantation of embryos carrying severe genetic defects. Appel has also written in support of an "open border" immigration policy. Among the causes that Appel has embraced is opposition to the forcible feeding of hunger strikers, both in domestic prisons and at Guantanamo Bay.[29][30] He has written that exposure to literature should be a medical school admissions requirement.[31]


Appel has taught creative writing at the Gotham Writers' Workshop and New York University.[32] He served as writer-in-residence at Yeshiva College in 2013.[33] As of 2023, he is Vice President and Treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle.




  1. ^ a b Nagamatsu, Sequoia "A Few Words with the Ubiquitous Jacob M. Appel" Prince Mincer Journal http://primemincer.com/ Archived 2015-07-21 at the Wayback Machine confirmed 26 April 2013
  2. ^ "THE CYNIC IN EXTREMIS by Jacob M. Appel | Kirkus Reviews" – via www.kirkusreviews.com.
  3. ^ Dundee International Book Prize won by Jacob M Appel, BBC, 25 October 2012
  4. ^ Book review: The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, Jacob Appel, The Scotsman, Lifestyle, 17 Nov 2012
  5. ^ Jacob M Appel named as Dundee International Book Prize winner, The Courier, 9 January 2013
  6. ^ Appel JM. Against Whitecoat Washing: The Need for Formal Human Rights Assessment in International Collaborations. Am J Bioeth. 2022 Oct;22(10):1-4.
  7. ^ Rosenblum, Constance. Boulevard of Dreams, New York University Press, 2009, P. 174
  8. ^ Appel, JM. Phoning Home. University of South Carolina Press, 2015
  9. ^ "Mount Siani School of Medicine Psychiatry Residency Class of 2013" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 27, 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  10. ^ Arborphilia tackles social issues, The Detroit News, Oct 27, 2006
  11. ^ "Interview with Prime Mincer". Archived from the original on 2015-07-21. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  12. ^ Sweden Asks: Should Convicted Murderers Practice Medicine? Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics / Volume 19 / Issue 04 / October 2010, pp 559-562
  13. ^ Jacob Appel ’09: Doctor, Lawyer, Writer, Teacher, Tour Guide, Columbia Medicine, October 04, 2011, Available online at [1] Archived 2013-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Harsh Treatment at Guantánamo" NYT April 21, 2013
  15. ^ "APPEL: The silent rise of the DNA nannies". The Washington Times.
  16. ^ Republican-American, "Resurgence of pro-life sentiment," 1 Jul 2009
  17. ^ Venus Theatre's 2009 Season, Washington Post 17 Dec 2008
  18. ^ Literary Notes,Greensboro News & Record 23 Oct 2005
  19. ^ Appel, Jacob M. (January 10, 2018). "Bioethics in Action, Part I: Helping Students Explore Difficult Questions in Health Care". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Appel, Jacob M. (January 11, 2018). "Bioethics in Action, Part II: Teaching About the Challenge of Balancing the Needs of Patients". The New York Times.
  21. ^ Room for Debate: The Power of the ‘Culture War’ NYT April 10, 2012
  22. ^ "BioEdge: WHY DENY THE DEPRESSED THEIR RIGHT TO SUICIDE?". BioEdge. Archived from the original on 2019-06-30. Retrieved 2019-06-30.
  23. ^ "Hastings Center Report". The Hastings Center. September 17, 2015.
  24. ^ Mike Hinkle, "Europe’s euthanasia enthusiasm is alarming," Edmonton Sun, April 26, 2013
  25. ^ Chicago Tribune article
  26. ^ "Legalize Prostitution, Polygamy, Bestiality and Incest | Jacob Appel | Big Think". Archived from the original on 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
  27. ^ J M Appel When the boss turns pusher: a proposal for employee protections in the age of cosmetic neurology J Med Ethics 2008; 34: 616-618
  28. ^ Appel, JM. "Wanted Dead or Alive? Kidney Transplantation in Inmates Awaiting Execution," The Journal of Clinical Ethics. Volume 16, Number 1. Spring 2005. PMID 15915846
  29. ^ Appel, Jacob. Harsh Treatment at Guantánamo, The New York Times, April 21, 2013
  30. ^ Appel, Jacob. "Rethinking Force-Feeding: Legal and Ethical Aspects of Physician Participation in the Termination of Hunger Strikes in American Prisons," Public Affairs Quarterly. Volume 26 • Number 4 October 2012
  31. ^ Letter: Literature Should Be a Medical School Admissions Requirement, The Atlantic, 5 August 2018
  32. ^ [2] Faculty Profile: Jacob M. Appel, August 21, 2010
  33. ^ "Writing Minor | Yeshiva University". www.yu.edu.
  34. ^ "Dundee International Book Prize won by Jacob M Appel - BBC News". BBC News. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  35. ^ Runcie, Charlotte. "Jacob M Appel's The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up wins Dundee Book Prize". The List. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  36. ^ Motika, Libby. Bonitanicum Seedlings. Palisadian Post June 1, 2006
  37. ^ Shade, Karen "Round the Bend Players offer funny, sometimes dark story," Tulsa World, August 24, 2006
  38. ^ Readling, Mike. "IRSC's Fine Arts Season promises mix of dance, drama, musical theater," Treasure Coast Palm August 28, 2009
  39. ^ Could you have done better? August 16, 2008
  40. ^ Highlights of fall season, Detroit Free Press, August 23, 2009
  41. ^ Reinink, Amy, "Women claim a dramatic spot in Laurel," Business Gazette, August 27, 2009