Coronavirus (COVID-19) notice

In accordance with the Quebec government directive, McGill University will remain closed until further notice. As a result, kindly note that the McGill Department of Social Studies of Medicine team is working remotely.

The best way to reach us is via ssom [at] (email )


Nicholas B. King

Associate Professor, Biomedical Ethics Unit, Social Studies of Medicine

Associate Member, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health

Associate Member, Institute for Health and Social Policy

514-398-7406  | nicholas.king [at]  | 3647 Peel, room 303 

Nicholas King holds a PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University. I was previously a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Fellow at the University of Michigan. 

Research Interests:

I study public health policy, ethics, and epistemology. Scientific information is often thought to be objective, and scientific communication often aims to ‘let the data speak.’ I use a variety of methods, including conceptual analysis, quantitative reviews, and controlled experiments, to demonstrate that data are always ‘spoken for,’ in the sense that human beings influence and are influenced by how data are produced, aggregated, communicated, and interpreted.  My ultimate goal is to help individuals become more informed and sophisticated producers and consumers of health information. 


Weaponizing Uncertainty in the COVID-19 Pandemic, IHSP McGill, June 23 2020

Health Disparities Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, Max Bell School of Public Policy, April 28 2020

Selected Publications:

Huang, Jonathan and Nicholas B. King. “Epigenetics Changes Nothing: What a New Scientific Field Does and Does Not Mean for Social Justice.” Public Health Ethics 2017. 

Voigt, Kristin, Nicholas B. King. “Out of alignment? Limitations of the Global Burden of Disease in assessing the allocation of global health aid.” Public Health Ethics 2017.

King, Nicholas B., Sam Harper, Erin Strumpf. “Has the Increase in Disability Insurance Participation Contributed to Increased Opioid-Related Mortality?” Annals of Internal Medicine 2016.165(10): 729-730.

King, Nicholas B. “Ebola 1995/2014.” Limn 2015.

King, Nicholas B., Veronique Fraser. “Untreated Pain, Narcotics Regulation, and Global Health Ideologies.” PLOS Medicine 2013. 10(4): e1001411

King, Nicholas B., Sam Harper, Meredith Young. “Use of relative and absolute effect measures in reporting health inequalities: structured review.” BMJ 2012; 345:e5774.

Courses Given:

PPHS 624: Public Health Ethics & Policy

INDS 406: The 'Crisis' in Health Research, and its Implications for Research, Health Policy, and Clinical Practice

Lectures as part of the medical curriculum: Individual rights and collective responsibilities in public health; resource allocation and distributive justice in public health and health care; and the ethics of screening and preventive care. 

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