Arthur Robin Williams, MD, MBE

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Dr. Williams is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University Division on Substance Use Disorders, and Research Scientist, New York State Psychiatric Institute. He attended Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs for his undergraduate degree in domestic health policy, completed his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania where he also earned a Master in Bioethics. He completed psychiatry training at NYU-Bellevue, and a NIDA funded T32 research fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry at Columbia.

Dr. Williams is currently NIH funded with a 5-year NIDA K23 - award to develop a quality of care framework, the OUD Cascade of Care, to respond to the opioid epidemic in addition to an R21 (NIDA) invesitagting changes in controlled substance use among medical marijuana participants and related risk of overdose. His work on addiction and mental illness has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, JAMA Psychiatry, Annals of Internal Medicine, and by the American Psychiatric Association and Oxford University Press. He has served as an invited expert guest to present to SAMHSA, APA, and NIDA.

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

Administrative Titles

  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
  • Research Scientist, New York State Psychiatric Institute


  • Male

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • MD, MA, Medicine, Bioethics, Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Med
  • Internship: New York University-Bellevue Hospital Center
  • Residency: New York University-Bellevue Hospital Center
  • Fellowship: Columbia University Medical Center



K23 DA044342-01 (Williams) 8/15/2017-7/31/2022

NIDA: “Improving the treatment cascade of MAT initiation and retention for opioid use disorder” 

Role: Principal Investigator

R21 DA045267 (Williams) 9/1/2018-8/31/2020

NIDA: Medical Marijuana Program Participation and Changes in Controlled Substance Use

Role: Principal Investigator

TI-18-004 Subaward (PI: Levin) 2/1/2018-1/31/2020

SAMHSA: Opioid State Targeted Response Technical Assistance (STR TA)

The goal of this project is so provide technical assistance and necessary support to State Targeted Response (STR) grantees to ensure the provision of evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery support programs/services across all states and territories that received STR grants.

Role: Co-Investigator/paid on consortium to RFMH, Inc.

Selected Publications

Original, Peer Reviewed Articles

Samples H, Williams AR, Crystal S, Olfson M (2020). Impact of long-term buprenorphine treatment on adverse health outcomes in Medicaid. Health Affairs, June 2020.

Williams AR, Samples H, Crystal S, Olfson M (2020). Retention on buprenorphine beyond six months and risk of acute care service utilization, opioid prescription use, and overdose, Am J Psych 2020 Feb 1;177(2):117-124. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.19060612.

Tofighi B, Williams AR, Chemi C, Sindhu S, Dickson V, Lee JD (2019). Patient Barriers and Facilitators to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in Primary Care, Substance Use & Misuse, DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2019.1653324; PMC6883164. PMID 31429351.

Meinhofer A, Williams AR, Johnson P, Schackman B, Bao Y (2019). Prescribing decisions at buprenorphine treatment initiation: Do they matter for treatment discontinuation and adverse opioid-related events?J Subst Abus Treat, 105:37-43. PMID: 31443889; PMCID: PMC6731543.

Williams AR, Nunes EV, Bisaga A, Levin FR, Olfson M (2019). Development of an Opioid Use Disorder Cascade of Care to Address the Addiction Treatment Gap. Am J Drug Alc Abuse;(45)1: January 2019. PMID: 30675818; PMCID: PMC6404749.

Williams AR, Hill KP (2019). Cannabis and the Current State of Treatment for Cannabis Use Disorder. FOCUS:The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry; 17:98-103.doi: 10.1176/appi.focus.20180038

Williams AR, Nunes EV, Bisaga A, et al(2018). Developing an Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Cascade: A Review of Quality Measures. J Subst Abus Treat;91:57-68.

Samples H, Williams AR, Olfson M, Crystal S (2018). Risk factors for premature discontinuation of buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorders in a multi-state sample of Medicaid enrollees. J Subst Abus Treat, 95:9-17.

Williams AR, Santaella-Tenorio J, Mauro C, Levin FR, Martins SS (2017). Loose regulation of medical marijuana programs associated with higher rates of adult marijuana use but not cannabis use disorder. Addiction; 112(11):1985-1991. PMID 28600874, PMC5735415.

Williams AR, Barbieri V, Mishlen K, Levin FR, Nunes EV, Mariani JJ, Bisaga A. Long term follow up study of community based patients receiving xr-naltrexone for opioid use disorder (2017). American Journal on Addictions; Jun;26(4):319-325. PMID 28328148, PMC5426981.

Levin FR, Bisaga A, Sullivan MA, Williams AR, Cates-Wessel K (2016). A review of a national training initiative to increase provider use of MAT to respond to the opioid epidemic. American Journal on Addictions; 25(8):603-609.PMID 28051841

Williams AR, Bisaga A (2016). From AIDS to opioids- how to combat an epidemic. New England Journal of Medicine; Sept 1;375(9):813-815, 2016.PMID 27579632, PMC5517310.

Williams AR, Olfson M, Kim JD, Martins SS, Kleber HD (2016). Older, Less Regulated Medical Marijuana Programs Have Much Greater Enrollment Rates. Health Affairs; Mar 1;35(3):480-8. PMC4845727

Williams AR(2015). Opportunities in Reform: Bioethics and Mental Health Ethics. Bioethics.May;30(4):221-6. PMC4814362

Williams AR, Olfson M, Galanter M (2015). Assessing and Improving Clinical Insight among Patients in "Denial." JAMA Psychiatry;72(4):303-4. PMC453897

Tofighi B, Lee JD, Biary R, Williams AR, Rotrosen J, Grossman E (2014). Six-Month Patient Outcomes After Office-Based Buprenorphine Clinic Disruption During Hurricane Sandy. Substance Use & Misuse; 35(2):200-201.

Williams AR, Cohen S, Ford E (2014). Statutory definitions of mental illness for involuntary hospitalization as related to substance use disorders. Psychiatric ServicesMay;65(5):634-640. PMID 24430580.

Williams AR, Tofighi B, Lee J, Rotrosen J, Grossman E (2014). Psychiatric Comorbidity, Red Flag Behaviors, and Associated Outcomes among Office-Based Buprenorphine Patients Following Hurricane Sandy. Journal of Urban Health; Apr;91(2): 366-75. PMID 24619775, PMC3978155.

Tofighi B, Grossman E, Williams AR, Biary R, Rotrosen J, Lee JD (2014). Outcomes among buprenorphine naloxone primary care patients after Hurricane Sandy. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice;Jan 27;9(1):3. PMID 24467734

McCormack R, Williams AR, Ross S, Rotrosen J, Goldfrank LR, Caplan AL (2013). Committing to Assessment and Treatment: Comprehensive Care for Patients Gravely Disabled by Alcohol Use Disorders, The Lancet; 382:995-997. PMID 23602314

Williams AR, Caplan AL (2012). Thomas Szasz: Rebel with a Questionable Cause. The Lancet; October 20,(380):1378-1379. PMID 23091833

Nordstrom B, Williams AR(2012). Drug Treatment in Criminal Justice Settings. Psych Clinics of North America; 35(2):375-91. PMID 22640761

Starrels J, Becker W, Alford D, Kapoor A, Williams AR,Turner B (2010). "Systematic Review: Treatment Agreements and Urine Drug Testing to Reduce Opioid Misuse in Patients With Chronic Pain,"Annals of Internal Medicine; 152(11);712-720. PMID 20513829

Book Chapters

Williams AR(2018). Performance measures and quality improvement for the opioid epidemic; in Opioid Addiction: An American Crisis, Compton M, Manseau MW eds. American Psychiatric Publishing Inc., 2018.

Schulman M,Williams AR, Bisaga A (2018). Management of Opioid Withdrawal; in Opioid Addiction: An American Crisis, Compton M, Manseau MW eds. American Psychiatric Publishing Inc., 2018.

Cooper Z, Williams AR(2018). Cannabis and Cannabinoid Intoxication and Toxicity; in Cannabis Use Disorder, Montoya I, Weiss S eds. Springer Publishing Inc.

Williams AR (2016).Medical and Recreational Marijuana Policy: From Prohibition to the Rise of Regulation; in Marijuana and Mental Health, Compton M ed. American Psychiatric Publishing Inc.

Williams AR, Bogunovic O (2016). Benzodiazepines and sedative hypnotic addiction in the older adult; in Addiction and the Older Adult, Sullivan M and Levin F eds. Oxford University Press.

Original, non-peer reviewed articles

Williams AR (2018). After Many Years, the FDA Announces Loosened Standards for Addiction Medication Approval. Health Affairs blog, March 23, 2018.

2.Williams AR, Bisaga A (2017). The Opioid Commission: Ringing the Right Alarm to Respond to the Opioid Epidemic.Health Affairs blog, August 21, 2017.

3.Williams AR, Olfson M, Nunes EV. To battle the opioid epidemic, deploy the 'Cascade of Care' model. Health Affairs, Health Policy Lab, March 13, 2017.

Williams AR(2012). Island Time. Blog posting, Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database, New York University. August 15th;

Williams AR(2011). MyRightSelf. Blog posting, Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database, New York University. December 21st;

Williams AR(2009). Transgender Considerations: A Clinical Primer for the Generalist Working with Trans and LGB Patients, 30-page booklet, 5,000 copies printed/distributed.

Williams, A.R. (2009). Making Images, Ars Medica,5(1), pp. 119-122; reprinted (2011) inCrawford, A. et al eds. Bodies and Soul: Narratives of Health from Ars Medica. University of Toronto Press.

Williams AR, Langleben DD (2009). The Sunny Side of an Underwater Mortgage: A Look at the Neurobiology of Social Cooperation. Science Progress, June 9, 2009.

Williams AR(2004). Crisis of Neglect: New Jersey's Refusal to Allow Needle Exchange Harms Everyone. Op-Ed, The Newark Star-Ledger, August 29, 2004.

Williams, AR (2004). State policymaking and syringe deregulation: The determinants of successful reform. Princeton University senior thesis. 140 pages.