Robert Klitzman

Robert Klitzman, MD


Robert Klitzman is a psychiatrist, and the author of eight books, and contributes regularly to the New York Times and other publications. He is a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, where he is also the Director of the Masters of Bioethics Program. His books include: A Year-long Night: Tales of a Medical Internship, In a House of Dreams and Glass: Becoming a Psychiatrist, Being Positive: The Lives of Men and Women with HIV, The Trembling Mountain: A Personal Account of Kuru, Cannibals and Mad Cow Disease, Mortal Secrets: Truth and Lies in the Age of AIDS, When Doctors Become Patients, Am I My Genes? Confronting Fate and Family Secrets in the Age of Genetic Testing, and The Ethics Police?: The Struggle to Make Human Research Safe (forthcoming in 2012). He has received several awards, including fellowships and grants from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Aaron Diamond Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony. He has published work in the New York Times,,, Newsweek and the Nation. He lives in New York City.

Selected works

Non-fiction book
"This is a detailed first look at a critical aspect of U.S. medicine that may not mesmerize causal readers, but should prove indispensable for reform." - Publishers Weekly
Fresh from medical school, Robert Klitzman began his residency in psychiatry with excitement and a sense of mission. But he was not prepared for what he found inside the city psychiatric center where he was to spend three grueling years. In truth, as Dr. Klitzman's absorbing account of his apprenticeship reveals, he never ceased to be surprised--by his patients, by the senior psychiatrists' conflicting advice on how to help them, and by the unpredictable results of the therapies, both psychoanalytic and biologic, that he and his fellow residents practiced. Nights in the emergency room, professional controversy, the minefield of hospital politics, the stress of his own therapy--everything is here, in a passionate and illuminating analysis of a doctor's struggle against tremendous odds to banish his patients' demons. [AN] INSIGHTFUL MEMOIR . . . RECOMMENDED." --Library Journal
"[Klitzman's] sensitive, humanist approach converts information into knowledge."
--Andrew Solomon, author of Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
"Klitzman's work is an important contribution to physical training and patient care. The wisdom shared in When Doctors Become Patients holds potential to make all physicians better caregivers."--JAMA
"...a book for anyone desiring to move forward in the fight against the illness, not the people."
--Erica Prigg, Health Communication
New York Times article
Op-Ed essay on the death of Osama Bin Laden
".. a briskly engaging and informative work."
--Publishers Weekly
"There are extraordinary moments...[The book] describe[s] the tension between the endless stress and the fantastic learning curve of his Year-long Night.
--Washington Post