Paul S. Appelbaum, MD

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I have a general psychiatric practice, with a particular emphasis on depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorders. My patients receive psychotherapy and/or medications, according to their needs and preferences.

Paul S. Appelbaum, M.D., the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Law, and Director, Division of Law, Ethics and Psychiatry at Columbia, was previously A.F. Zeleznik Distinguished Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry; and Director, Law and Psychiatry Program, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Dr. Appelbaum is the author of many articles and books on law and ethics in clinical practice. Dr. Appelbaum is Past President of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, and the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, and has twice served as Chair of the Council on Psychiatry and Law and of the Committee on Judicial Action for the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Dr. Appelbaum is currently Chair of the DSM Steering Committee for APA, and of the Standing Committee on Ethics of the World Psychiatric Association. He has received the Isaac Ray Award of the American Psychiatric Association for "outstanding contributions to forensic psychiatry and the psychiatric aspects of jurisprudence," was the Fritz Redlich Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Appelbaum performs forensic evaluations in civil and criminal cases, and treats patients with a broad variety of problems, including depression, anxiety, and adjustment problems.

Areas of Expertise / Conditions Treated

  • Adjustment Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • General Psychiatry
  • Insomnia
  • Mental Health
  • Mood Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Psychosis
  • Psychotherapy
  • Social Anxiety Disorder

Academic Appointments

  • Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Law

Administrative Titles

  • Director, Division of Law, Ethics & Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry

Hospital Affiliations

  • NewYork-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center


  • Male

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Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • Harvard Medical School
  • Internship: Soroka Medical Center, Beersheva, Israel

Committees, Societies, Councils

  • Chair, Committee to Evaluate the Social Security Administration's Capability Determination Process for Adult Beneficiaries, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Science, January 2015-Present.
  • Chair, DSM Steering Committee, American Psychiatric Association, May 2014-Present
  • Chair, Committee on Judicial Action American Psychiatric Association, May 2010 - May 2014
  • Chair, Standing Committee on Ethics World Psychiatric Association, March 2015-Present (Member, September 2008-Present)
  • Committee on Health Research and the Privacy of Health Information: the HIPAA Privacy Rule Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, July 2007 - June 2007
  • Committee on Crossing the Quality Chasm: Adaptation to Mental Health And Addictive Disorders Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, January 2004 - June 2004
  • Board on Neuroscience and Behavioral Health Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, July 2001 - June 2001
  • Chair, Council on Psychiatry and Law American Psychiatric Association, May 2004 - May 2004
  • Board of Trustees American Psychiatric Association, May 1997 - May 1997
  • Chair, Council on Psychiatry and Law American Psychiatric Association, May 1990 - May 1994
  • Chair, Committee on Judicial Action, American Psychiatric Association, May 1984-May 1990

Board Certifications

  • Psychiatry
  • Forensic Psychiatry

Honors & Awards

  • 2013: Golden Apple Award for significant contributions to forensic psychiatry, American Academy of Psychiatry and Law
  • 2012: Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
  • 2008: America‚Äôs Top Doctors (and every year since)
  • 2007: Best Doctors in America (and every year since)
  • 2007: Isaac Hays, MD and John Bell, MD Award for leadership in medical ethics and professionalism, American Medical Association
  • 2001: C. Charles Burlingame Award for major contributions to the field of psychiatry, Institute of Living
  • 2000: Elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 1997: Edward J. Strecker, M.D. Award for outstanding contributions in clinical psychiatry, Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital
  • 1996-1997: Fritz Redlich Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
  • 1990: Isaac Ray Award for outstanding contributions to forensic psychiatry and the psychiatric aspects of jurisprudence, American Psychiatric Association
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Dr. Appelbaum's research focuses on how legal and ethical rules affect medical practice and research, including informed consent, decisional capacity, mandatory treatment, advance directives, and confidentiality. He has a special interest in ethical and legal implications of neuropsychiatric genetics.

Dr. Appelbaum is involved in funded projects examining: functioning of IRBs at major medical centers around the country; therapeutic misconception in consent to research; use of behavioral genetic data in the courts; the consequences of returning genomic data to research subjects; unrealistic optimism in consent to medical research; use of N-of-1 trials; and impact of genetic conceptualizations of illness in Africa. He leads a NHGRI-funded center for research on ethical, legal, and social implications of psychiatric, neurologic and behavioral genetics.

Research Interests

  • General Adult Psychiatry (psychotherapy and psychopharmacology)
  • See description above.


2006-2016 Co-Investigator and Director of Ethics Resource, Clinical and Translational Science Award, NCATS UL1TR000040 (Henry Ginsberg, MD, Principal Investigator).
2012-2017 Co-Investigator, Understanding Therapeutic Optimism and its Impact on Risk-Benefit Assessment, NCI 1R01CA166556-01A1 (Lynn Jansen, PhD, PI).
2013-2018 Principal Investigator, Center for Research on the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic and Behavioral Genetics, NHGRI 1P50HG007257.
2014-2016 Co-Investigator, Therapeutic Misconception and Scientific Reframing NCCAM 1R21AT008648-01, (Charles Lidz, PhD, PI).
2014-2019 Co-Investigator, Central IRBs: Enhanced Protections for Human Research Participants?, NIGMS 1R01GM113640-01, (Charles Lidz, PhD, PI).
2014-2017 Co-Investigator, Empowering Patients to Optimize their Selection of Blood Pressure Medications Using N-of-1 Trials, PCORI ME-1403-12304, (Karina Davidson, PhD, PI).
2015-2018 Co-Investigator, Stigma in African Genomics Research on Schizophrenia and Rheumatic Heart Disease, NHGRI 1U01HG008226-01, (Jantina DeVries, PhD, PI).

Selected Publications

  • Appelbaum PS, Gutheil TG: Clinical Handbook of Psychiatry and the Law, 4th ed, Lippincott/Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA, USA, 2007
  • Berg JW, Appelbaum PS, Lidz CW, Parker L: Informed Consent: Legal Theory and Clinical Practice, 2nd ed, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, USA, 2001
  • Grisso T, Appelbaum PS: Assessing Competence To Consent To Treatment: A Guide for Physicians and Other Health Professionals. 1998
  • Appelbaum PS: Almost a Revolution: Mental Health Law and the Limits of Change. 1994
  • Anfang SA, Appelbaum PS : Forensic evaluation of the older patient, in Agronin ME, Maletta GJ (eds.), Principles and Practice of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Lippincott/Williams & Wilkins., Lippincott/Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia,PA,USA, 2011
  • Klitzman R, Abbate KJ, Chung WK, Marder KS, Ottman R, Johansen Taber K, Leu C-S, Appelbaum PS. Psychiatrists' views of the genetic bases of mental disorders and behavioral traits and their utilization of genetic tests. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 2014; 202.530-538.

Global Health Activities

Member (2008-2014) and Chair (2015-), Standing Committee on Ethics, World Psychiatric Association.