Ph.D., St. Louis University, 1978;
J.D., Yale Law School, 1981
During the 1978-79 academic year, he held a postdoctoral fellowship in bioethics at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. He practiced law from 1981 to 1986 with a firm in San Francisco and provided bioethics consultation and education as an independent practitioner from 1986 to 1996. He is currently a Faculty Scholar in the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and has so far taught: Ethics in Society, Ethics in Business, Ethics in Medicine, Feminism and Bioethics, Feminism, Bioethics and the Law, and Phenomenology. Nelson has published articles on ethics, law, and health care in journals such as Journal of the American Medical Association, Hastings Center Report, Critical Care Medicine, Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, and Hastings Law Journal. He has served as a bioethics consultant to projects of the National Institutes of Health, the Hastings Center, and the American Thoracic Society. In October of 1996, he was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study the legal and ethical aspects of prenatal substance abuse.