Dr. Robert Truog is Professor of Medical Ethics, Anaesthesiology & Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Truog received his medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and is board certified in the practices of pediatrics, anesthesiology, and pediatric critical care medicine. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Brown University and an honorary Master’s of Arts from Harvard University.
As Director of the Center for Bioethics, he has overall responsibility for the Center’s many activities, including a required course in Medical Ethics and Professionalism for undergraduate medical students, the Harvard Bioethics Fellowship program, and the Center’s many workshops, seminars, and public forums.
Dr. Truog also practices pediatric intensive care medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he has served for more than 25 years, including a decade as Chief of the Division of Critical Care Medicine. Also at Children’s he is Executive Director of the Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, where he creates and teaches highly interactive seminars to enhance the relational and communication skills of clinicians across a variety of topics, including breaking bad news, discussing organ donation with families, and disclosure of adverse events and medical error. As Chair of Harvard’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee (ESCRO), he is engaged in the interesting and difficult challenges of defining the ethical parameters of stem cell research.
Dr. Truog has published more than 200 articles in bioethics and related disciplines, and his writings on the subject of brain death have been translated into several languages. He authored current national guidelines for providing end-of-life care in the intensive care unit. His books include Talking with Patients and Families about Medical Error: A Guide for Education and Practice (2010, JHUP), and Death, Dying, and Organ Transplantation (2012, Oxford).
He lectures widely nationally and internationally, and is an active member of numerous committees and advisory boards. He has received several awards over the years, including the the William G. Bartholome Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Christopher Grenvik Memorial Award, and the Shubin-Weil Master Clinician-Teacher Award, both from the Society of Critical Care Medicine. In 2013 he was honored with the Spinoza Chair at the University of Amsterdam.
Q&A with Dr. Robert D. Truog (video)November 23, 2015Dr. Truog on the HMS Master of Bioethics, what drew him to a career in bioethics, key challenges in the field today and more.
Medicine and Morality: How do doctors resolve ethical dilemmas hidden in everyday patient care?June 10, 2015Harvard Medical School Podcast LibraryRobert Truog, a Harvard Medical School professor at Boston Children’s Hospital and director of the HMS Center for Bioethics, teaches doctors and nurses to become more aware of the ethical decisions they make every day—including the conscious and unconscious biases that shape the words they use and the way they frame conversations with patients and families. This kind of “microethics” education aims to help doctors and patients alike achieve more compassionate care.
Surgery’s far frontier: Head transplants June 5, 2015The Wall Street Journal Head transplants, at the extreme frontier of medicine, are inching toward reality. Robert Truog, director of the HMS Center for Bioethics and Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Legal Medicine and professor of anaesthesia at Boston Children's Hospital, is quoted.
The Burden of Proof June 2, 2015Harvard Medicine Dr. Robert Truog comments on the regulations and ethics of involving kids in pediatric clinical trials.
Service Members Are Left in Dark on Health Errors April 18, 2015The New York Times Tens of thousands of serious medical mistakes happen every year at American hospitals and clinics. While a handful of health care organizations have opted for broad disclosure amid calls for greater openness, most patients and their families still face significant obstacles if they try to find out what went wrong. Center Director Dr. Robert Truog is quoted.
Bioethics for Transformative Times April 30, 2014 Dean's Corner BlogHelping researchers and caregivers find their way in the changing terrain of biomedicine. Robert Truog, the HMS Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics, Anaesthesia and Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, has been named director of the Center for Bioethics.