Robert Klitzman, MD

  • Professor of Psychiatry (in Sociomedical Sciences) at CUMC
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I am the Director of the Masters of Bioethics Program, and a member of the Division of Psychiatry, Law and Ethics, and co-founded and for five years co-directed the Center for Bioethics. I have written nine books, and over 140 academic articles, drawing on multi-disciplinary methods to examine ethical, psychological and social issues in a variety of contexts in medicine and psychiatry. Specifically, I have examined decision-making concerning HIV disclosure, genetic testing, reproductive choices among individuals at risk for genetic disorders, Institutional Review Boards, and other topics.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Psychiatry (in Sociomedical Sciences) at CUMC

Administrative Titles

  • Director, Masters of Bioethics Program


  • Male

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

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

Committees, Societies, Councils

Member, Empire State Stem Cell Board

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

Member, Ethics Working Group, HIV Prevention Trials Network

Member, Council on Foreign Relations

Editorial Boards

Journal of Homosexuality

Honors & Awards

Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation

Fellow, Russell Sage Foundation

Member, Council on Foreign Relations

Picker-Commonwealth Scholar Award 1996-9

Merck Company Foundation Fellow, Yaddo, 2001

Aaron Diamond Foundation Fellow, 1993-6


Ethical, psychological and social aspects of decision-making among patients, providers and others concerning HIV, genetics, and other areas: I am currently conducting several studies, including: "Views and Approaches of IRB Members Toward Research Integrity", and "Views and Approaches Toward Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis Among Patients and Providers"

Research Interests

  • Genetics
  • Global Health
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Maternal and Reproductive Health
  • Mental Health
  • Public Health Education

Selected Publications

Global Health 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

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.