Robert Klitzman

Robert Klitzman

Robert Klitzman

Psychiatry (in Sociomedical Sciences) at the Columbia University Medical Center


1051 Riverside Dr.,Unit #29

NY NY 10025

646 774 6912
Website address: Email: Twitter: CV:


Dr. Robert Klitzman is a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Joseph Mailman School of Public Health and the Founder and Director of the Masters of Bioethics Program at Columbia University. He co-founded and for five years co-directed the Center for Bioethics, and for 10 years directed the Ethics and Policy Core of the HIV Center. He has conducted research and written about a variety of ethical issues in medicine and public health to promote public and professional education concerning these issues. He has written nine books, and authored or co-authored over 150 academic articles, drawing on qualitative as well as quantitative methodologies. His work has appeared in Journal of the American Medical Association, Science, and elsewhere, and also has written for the New York Times, Newsweek, The Nation, and other publications. He has received several awards for his work, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Aaron Diamond Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund and the Hastings Center. He is a gubernatorial appointee to the NY State Stem Cell Commission, a member of the Ethics Working Group of the HIV Prevention Trials Network, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and has been a member of the Research Ethics Advisory Panel of the US Department of Defense. He has been interviewed about these issues widely by the media, including the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, NPR, PBS, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, the BBC and others.



MD, 1985, Yale University
BA, 1980, Princeton University

Editorial Boards

Journal of Homosexuality

Columbia Affiliations

Director, Masters of Bioethics Program

Director, Ethics

Other Affiliations

Member, Research Ethics Advisory Panel, US Dept. of Defense

Member, Ethics Working Group, HIV Prevention Trials Network

Member, Council on Foreign Relations

Honors & Awards

Picker-Commonwealth Scholar Award 1996-9
Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar 1999-2000
John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, 2015
Merck Company Foundation Fellow, Yaddo, 2001
Aaron Diamond Foundation Fellow, 1993-6

Areas of Expertise

Genetics, Genomics, Global Health, Ethics, Healthcare Policy, Healthcare Reform, Healthcare Regulation, Pharmaceudical Industry, HIV/AIDS, Epidemics, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Mental Health, Physician Education

Select Urban Health Activities

Am I My Genes?: Confronting Fate and Family Secrets in the Age of Genetic Testing: Dr. Klitzman's recent book, Am I My Genes?: Confronting Fate and Family Secrets in the Age of Genetic Testing, based on in-depth interviews with individuals who have or are at risk of a variety of genetic diseases, examines their views of privacy, decisions about genetic testing, participation in research, disclosures to family members and others, etc.

When Doctors Become Patients: Dr. Klitzman's book, When Doctors Become Patients, is based on a series of in-depth interviews with 70 physicians who became patients due to a variety of serious illnesses. The book examines how these individuals change their views of risks and benefits, doctor-patient relationships and interactions, end of life care, spirituality, and other issues.

Select Global Activities

Ethics of HIV Vaccine Trials: IRB Members' Views, South Africa, Thailand: Dr. Klitzman is interviewing IRB members in the US, South Africa, Thailand, and elsewhere

Select Publications

Klitzman, R., When Doctors Become Patients(Oxford, 2008)

Klitzman, R., In a House of Dreams and Glass: Becoming a Psychiatrist(Simon & Schuster, 1995)

Klitzman, R., Being Positive: The Lives of Men and Women with HIV(Ivan R. Dee, 1007)

Klitzman, R., and Bayer, R., Mortal Secrets: Truth and Lies in the Age of AIDS(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003)

Klitzman, R., Appelbaum, P., To Protect Human Subjects, Review What Was Done, Not Proposed Science. 2012 March 30; 335(6076): 1576-7

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