About Jason Karlawish

Jason Karlawish is a Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

He cares for patients at the Penn Memory Center and directs the Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy Program. With support from the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Greenwall Foundation, he has investigated the development of Alzheimer’s disease treatments and diagnostics, informed consent, quality of life, research and treatment decision making, and voting by persons with cognitive impairment and residents of long term care facilities. He has been an international proponent of mobile polling, a method of bringing the vote to long term care facilities that minimizes fraud and maximizes voter rights. He is a winner of the Lancet's Wakley Prize. In 2010, in a widely publicized essay in the Journal of the American Medical Association, he introduced the concept of “desktop medicine,” a theory of medicine that recognizes how risk and its numerical representations are transforming medicine, medical care, and health.

Karlawish wrote Open Wound: The Tragic Obsession of Dr. William Beaumont in part to upend the convention of the scientist as a dispassionate expert who lives above the social and political order of her times. Open Wound, a novel based on true events along the 19th century American frontier, tells how emotion and passion together with social and political pressures slowly corrupt the scientist’s character and ethics, a corruption that drives Dr. Beaumont to increasingly desperate acts. Tragically, he destroys what he most desires, the immortality of fame.

Karlawish has disseminated his work in essays in The New York Times, peer reviewed publications and chapters in leading textbooks of medicine and bioethics, testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Aging and the Department of Health and Human Services Subcommittee on the Inclusion of Individuals with Impaired Decision-making in Research, and collaborations with the American Bar Association, American Association of Retired Persons, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the State of Vermont, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greenwall Foundation and the American Bar Association's Commission on Law and Aging. He is currently serving on the Institute of Medicine's Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of Cognitive Aging.

He studied medicine at Northwestern University and trained in internal medicine and geriatric medicine at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago.

email: jasonkarlawish [at] gmail [dot] com