Ryan J. Dougherty

About me

Welcome all! My name is Ryan. I'm a social welfare scholar and Fellow of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College. In addition to conducting research and teaching medical students, I am being trained in medical ethics consultation services in my fellowship. Please feel free to contact me for my full CV or opportunities to collaborate.
My work examines how moral discourses on medicine shape social welfare policy for vulnerable populations with serious mental illnesses, particularly in relation to growing social inequities like poverty and mass incarceration. To do so, I use qualitative research methods to explore the moral distress that emerges in service delivery between patients and their providers.

I draw across interdisciplinary perspectives, including sociology, anthropology, and social work, as well as critical theoretical perspectives in feminist, disability, and mad studies in order to highlight the role of power in shaping the ways medical and social services are delivered and experienced. Questions that I examine range from how medical institutions respond to social crises in their local communities to the medicalization of human distress and vulnerability in social policy.


Ryan J. Dougherty, MSW, PhD (graduand)

Fellow of Medical Ethics



Division of Medical Ethics

Weill Cornell Medical