About Jason Karlawish

Jason Karlawish is a physician and writer. He is a Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania and cares for patients at the Penn Memory Center, which he co-directs, and directs the Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy Program and the Penn Healthy Brain Research Center.

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, biomarker-based concepts of disease, 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 internationally recognized proponent of mobile polling, a method of bringing the vote to long term care facilities that minimizes fraud and maximizes voter rights. 

His novel Open Wound: The Tragic Obsession of Dr. William Beaumont upends 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.

He has published essays in Forbes.com, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, KevinMD, JAMA and The New England Journal of Medicine, and chapters in leading textbooks of medicine and bioethics. 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.

His testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Aging and collaborations with the American Bar Association, American Association of Retired Persons, the State of Vermont, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office helped to advance the voting rights of older adults. 

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greenwall Foundation. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine's Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of Cognitive Aging. He serves on AARP's Global Council on Brain Health and PCAST's subcommittee on aging and technology. He is the creator and producer of Makingsenseofalzheimers.org, a creative community to make sense of how we are going to live with Alzheimer's disease.

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

email: jasonkarlawish [at] gmail [dot] com


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.