Arthur Robin Williams, MD, MBE

  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Profile Headshot


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

Committees, Societies, Councils

American Psychiatric Association
American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
American Society of Addiction Medicine



Ongoing Research Support

R01 DA059042-01 (Williams)                                                           6/01/2023 -3/31/2028?NIDA?“The OUD Cascade of Care and Critical Outcomes: Longitudinal Linkage with Opioid Use”?Role: Principal Investigator (PI)

R01 DA057566-01 (Williams, Hadland)                                           9/01/2022 - 8/31/2027?NIDA?“Identifying Disparities in the Cascade of Care for Medicaid-Enrolled Youth with Opioid Use Disorder”?Role: Principal Investigator (MPI)


K23 DA044342-01 ( Williams)
“Improving the treatment cascade of MAT initiation and retention for opioid use disorder”
Role: Principal Investigator

NIDA Clinical Trials Network 0112 (PI: Williams)
“Optimizing Policies To Improve Methadone Maintenance Adherence Long-term”
The OPTIMMAL study evaluates opioid treatment programs (OTPs) across the country and how
loosed regulations following COVID impacted retention and drug use outcomes.
Role: Lead investigator

TI-18-004 Subaward (PI: Williams)
“Opioid Use Disorder Cascade of Care Toolkit”
Funded by the ORN, formerly the STR/SOR efforts to ensure the provision of evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery support programs/services across all states and territories
Role: PI

R21 DA045267 (Williams)
NIDA: Medical Marijuana Program Participation and Changes in Controlled Substance Use
Role: Principal Investigator

TI-18-004 Subaward (PI: Levin)
FY 2018 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.

1UG1DA050071-01 (Elkington, Nunes, Wainberg)
7/15/19 – 4/30/2024
Facilitating Opioid Care Connections: System level strategies to improve use of MAT and movement through the opioid care cascade for defendants in a new Opioid Court system.
In this proposal we will leverage the unique, real-time, scale-up of a new opioid court model (OCM) to address a critical public as well as correctional health problem by developing and evaluating an implementation intervention (OCM RISE), designed to build cross-system partnerships to permit development of generalizable yet tailored strategies that allow the OCM to be scaled up across a variety of contexts.
Role: Co-Investigator

Past Support

UG1 DA013035-15 (Rotrosen & Nunes) 09/01/99- 05/31/2020
Clinical Trials Network: Greater New York Node
The overall aim is to evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of new therapies for substance dependence through multisite trials conducted in “real world” community-based treatment settings, to disseminate these treatments and foster their appropriate use, and to understand the problems that may interfere with the successful adaptation of newer treatments.
Role: Co-Investigator

R01MH102161-02 (Rabkin)
Return to work RCT: Counseling after fatigue treatment in HIV/AIDS.
Role: Co-Investigator

H79 TI025937-02 (Levin)
Training Medical and Dental Studies in SBIRT
Role: Co-Investigator

Selected Publications

Original, Peer Reviewed Articles

Williams AR, Rowe C, Gallagher R, Aronowitz SV, Diamond-Reivich J, Bisaga A.  Urine Drug Screening in a Telehealth Setting for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder. JAMA Health Forum, July 28, 2023.


Williams AR, Aronowitz S, Gallagher R, Behar E, Bisaga A (2023). Telehealth for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment, Retention, and Disparities by Race and Geography. Am J Drug Alc Abus, Mar 4;49(2):260-265. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2023.2180382. Epub 2023 Mar 24. PMID: 36961998.


Samples H, Nowels M, Williams AR, Olfson M, Crystal S (2023). Buprenorphine after non-fatal opioid overdose: Reduced mortality risk in Medicare disability beneficiaries. Am J Prev Med; March 10, 2023;


Williams AR, Aronowitz S, Gallagher R, Behar E, Gray Z, Bisaga A (2023). A Virtual-First Telehealth Treatment Model for Opioid Use Disorder, J Gen Int Med; 2023 Feb;38(3):814-816. doi: 10.1007/s11606-022-07955-x. Epub 2022 Dec 1. PMID: 36456841; PMCID: PMC9714767.

Williams AR, Mauro CM, Feng T, et al (2022). Performance Measurement for Medication for Opioid Use Disorder and Retention in Care. Am J Psych, October 26, 2022 epub ahead of print


Williams AR (2022). “MOUD saves lives, especially after 60 days, and the longer the better.” Addiction. Dec;117(12):3089-3090. doi: 10.1111/add.16043. PMID: 36100579; PMC9633431.

Williams AR, Mauro CM, Feng T, Waples J, Martins SS, Haney M (2022). Adult Medical Cannabinoid Use and Changes in Prescription Controlled Substance Use. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2022 Apr 29. doi: 10.1089/can.2021.0212. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35486854.


Williams AR, Johnson K, Thomas CP, Henry B, Horgan C, et al (2022). OUD Cascade of Care Framework Designs: A Roadmap. Subst Abus, 43(1):1207-1214. PMID 35657670; PMC9577537.


Samples H, Williams AR, Crystal S, Olfson M (2021). Patterns of Psychosocial and Behavioral Therapy Received in Conjunction with Buprenorphine Treatment. J Subst Abus Treat; 2022 Mar 18;108774. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2022.108774. PMID 35337716; PMC9187597.

Williams AR, Mauro CM, Feng T, et al (2021). Non-Prescribed Buprenorphine Preceding Treatment Entry and Clinical Outcomes for Opioid Use Disorder. JSAT. 2022 Mar 21;108770. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2022.108770. Online ahead of print. PMID 35337715.

Crystal S, Knowels M, Samples H, Olfson M, Williams AR, Treitler P (2021). Opioid Overdose Survivors: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder and Risk of Repeat Overdose in Medicaid Patients. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 232:109269.


Joudrey P, Bart G… Williams AR, Wu L, Fiellin DA (2021). Research priorities for expanding access to methadone treatment for opioid use disorder in the United States: A National Institute on Drug Abuse Center for Clinical Trials Network Task Force report. Subst Abus, 2021; 42(3):245-254. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2021.1975344. Erratum in: Subst Abus. 2021 Oct 12;1. PMID: 34606426.


McNeely J, Schatz D, Olfson M, Williams AR (2021). Response to the Opioid Crisis is Hampered by Workforce Shortages. Psychiatric Services, 2021 Sep 15:appips202000565. doi: 10.1176/ Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34521210.

Crystal S, Knowels M, Olfson M, Samples H, Williams AR, Treitler P (2021). Medically-Treated Opioid Overdoses among New Jersey Medicaid Beneficiaries: Rapid Growth and Complex Comorbidity in a Setting of Growing Fentanyl Penetration. J Subst Abus Treat; 2021 Jun 24:108546. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108546. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34391586.


Krawczyk N, Williams AR, Saloner B, Cerda M (2021). Who stays in medication treatment for opioid use disorder? A national study of outpatient specialty treatment settings, JSAT, 126(108329):1-11.


Williams AR (2021). A critical charge for improving opioid use disorder outcomes along the cascade. Am J Drug Alc Abuse; Mar 18, 2021. PMC8114099.


Elkington KS, Nunes E, Schachar A… Williams AR… Wainberg M (2021). Stepped-wedge randomized controlled trial of a novel opioid court to improve identification of need and linkage to medications for opioid use disorder treatment for court-involved adults. J Subst Abus Treat. January 8, 2021 doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108277. PMID 33487516.


Williams AR (2021). Ethical dilemmas in counseling older adults on cannabis use: Less science, more quandaries. Generations; Winter 2021 44(4).


Williams AR, Hill KP (2020). In the Clinic© Care of the Patient Using Cannabis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 173(9):ITC65-ITC80PMID: 33137270. PMC8148298.

Rosenthal RN, Welsh JW, Connery HS, Barnett BS, DeVido J, Hill K, Levin FR, Williams AR, Greenfield SF. Advocacy and Public Policy Efforts of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. Am J Addict. 2020 Sep;29(5):401-406. PMID 32902042.


Williams AR, Levin FR (2020). The Perils of Screening for Illicit Drug Use are a Call to Action for the Mental Health Workforce. JAMA Psychiatry; 77(11)1101-1102. PMC7725944.


Williams AR, Hill KP, Rosenthal RN, Connery HS, Welsh JW (2020). Commentary: Proposed Model State Cannabis Laws to Reduce Harms. Am J Addict. Sep;29(5):426-427. doi: 10.1111/ajad.13088. PMID: 32902047.


Williams AR (2020). Cannabis as a Gateway Drug for Opioid Use Disorder. Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics. 48(2):268-274. PMC7359408.


 Bao Y, Williams AR, Schackman B (2020). COVID-19 can change the way we respond to the opioid crisis – for the better. Psychiatric ServicesAug 12:appips202000226. doi: 10.1176/ PMID: 32781928. PMC7891848.


Williams AR (2020). Commentary on Piske et al. (2020): Medication initiation is key to reduce deaths amid opioid crisis. Addiction, 115(8):1494-1495. PMC7340569.

Samples H, Williams AR, Crystal S, Olfson M (2020). Impact of long-term buprenorphine treatment on adverse health outcomes in Medicaid. Health AffairsMay;39(5):747-755. PMID 32364847. PMC7531057.

Williams AR, Samples H, Crystal S, Olfson M (2020). Acute Care, Prescription Opioid Use, and Overdose Following Discontinuation of Long-Term Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder, Am J Psych Feb 1;177(2):117-124. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.19060612. PMID: 31786933; PMCID 7002204


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. PMC6527009.

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. PMC6039975.

 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, 2018 Dec; 95:9-17. PMC6354252.

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 Services May;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 HealthApr;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