News, Articles and other Items of Interest
- Interview: History's Most Prolific Executioner. Dr. Bursztajn is interviewed in this article about Vasili Blohkin, a Soviet major-general who murdered 10,000 people during Stalin's purges and World War II.
- Presentation: Physician know thyself to help and heal: From the (1939-1945) Shoah's times of catastrophe and great moral hazard to today's (2015) ethical challenges to clinicians. Dr. Bursztajn presents how physicians and other health care workers do their best in times of great moral hazard, community catastrophe, and faced with tragic choices and decision making under conditions of uncertainty using an awareness of one's own autobiography, including remembering one's own original motivations for the practice of medicine. Presented by the Flexner Dean's Lecture Series at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine on Monday, March 9, 2015.
- Webinar: As Doctors See It: Litigation Tips from the Experts Themselves. Dr. Bursztajn presents this webinar on December 16, 2014 with Kent Anderson and Lee Cranberg on how medical professionals approach expert testimony.
- Interview: UN Group Compares Boycott of Israeli Academics to Nazi Practice. Whether intentional or not, says a UNESCO body, the boycott of Israeli academics bears a similarity to the practice of German doctors, who were leaders in the Nazi party, of segregating out their Jewish colleagues. Read more about Dr. Bursztajn’s concept of Ethicogenesis.
- Interview: Emotional trauma may have kept Amy Lord from fleeing. Dr. Bursztajn, as a forensic psychiatric expert with a special interest in head trauma and PTSD, is interviewed on the brutal kidnapping and killing of Amy Lord. Chelsea Conaboy, Boston Globe, July 26, 2013.
- Interview: Potential psychological explanations behind bombings. Dr. Bursztajn is interviewed in the Boston Globe on the recent Boston Marathon bombings. This is further explored on WBUR’s CommonHealth: The ‘Folie à Deux’ Theory of the Boston Bombings.
- Interview: Harold J. Bursztajn ’72, on mental-health care. Dr. Bursztajn is interview in the Princeton Alumni Weekly on the role of mental health care in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings.
- Article: On Being Mentored and Mentoring. Dr. Bursztajn’s recollections of being mentored by Leston Havens, M.D. (1924-2011) in the Winter, 2012 International Society for the Psychological Treatments of the Schizophrenias and other Psychoses (ISPS).
- Interview: Dr. Omar Sultan Haque aims to humanize health care. Dr. Omar Sultan Haque, a psychology PhD candidate at Harvard and one of Dr. Bursztajn’s mentees, is interviewed in the Boston Globe about a piece Dr. Haque wrote with Adam Waytz in the current issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science about the dehumanization of medicine.
- Interview: Dr. Bursztajn is interviewed regularly by Carey Goldberg for the NPR blog CommonHealth:
- Interview: The
Sergeant in Question: A Portrait of the Accused Shooter of Kandahar.
Dr. Bursztajn is interviewed on the apparent disconnect between the
prior conduct of the United States soldier accused of shooting 16
Afghani civilians and the details of the incident.
- Article: Love
in the Shadow of the Third Reich. An introduction by Susan Kweskin
that appeared in the print edition of the Psychiatric Times to
the online-only article Revisiting
Lodz, Poland in 2011 and Reconstructing How My Parents Survived the
- Case: Carvajal
v. Mihalek, et al. Dr. Bursztajn's reference to an antisocial
history in the course of his examination, opinion, and testimony
was affirmed on appeal by a panel which included one of the better
senior judge writers in the federal judiciary, Guido
Calabrese, whose book, Tragic
Choices deals with many of the issues of Dr. Bursztajn's book Medical
Choices, Medical Chances in a legal context.
- Article: Sex
Offenders Often Minimize Behaviors, Say Experts. Dr. Bursztajn
is interviewed for ABC News correspondent Kim Carollo's blog exploring
the implications surrounding the Penn State scandal.
- Presentation: You
can kill us but you can't humiliate us. On March 7, 2011, Dr.
Bursztajn will present lessons he learned from his parents' experience,
followed by a discussion by Anna Ornstein, MD at the Boston Psychoanalytic
Society and Institute.
- Interview: Tucson
Shooting Renews Gun Control Debate. Dr. Bursztajn is interviewed
on NPR's Talk of the Nation on February 16, 2011 on the public safety
issues arising out of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
The January shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 18 others
in Tucson has reignited two issues in the debate over guns in America:
the legality of extended magazine clips like the one used by the
suspected shooter, and access to firearms by the mentally ill.
- Presentation: Lodz
Ghetto. Dr. Bursztajn and Geoffrey Brahmer give presentations
at Arlington High School in Arlington, MA. The students later wrote
comments on the presentation, linked to above.
- Articles: A series from Miller-McCune.com on the
controversy surrounding the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
of Mental Disorders in which Dr. Bursztajn's work with Lisa Cosgrove
- Article: Undue
Pharmaceutical Influence on Psychiatric Practice: Steps That Can
Reduce the Ethical Risk. Dr. Bursztajn and Lisa Cosgrove's latest
article in the Psychiatric Times regarding increasing concerns arising
about the ways in which corporate sponsorship of clinical trials
and continuing medical education activities may bias the information
that is published and disseminated about the benefits and risks of
- Book: Teaching
Ethics in Organ Transplantation and Tissue Donation: Cases and Movies.
Dr. Bursztajn contributed a case
study in this new book on the the ethics organ transplantation.
Being a global and transnational endeavor, organ transplantation
raises universal ethical concerns and, yet, has to be adapted to
culturally mediated beliefs. In this book, 30 case studies collected
from all over the world illustrate the range of global and local,
ethical, social, and cultural problems associated with this new form
of treatment. Together with a list of relevant movies, the collection
provides a unique resource for ethics education in medicine, health
care, philosophy, and religious studies.
- Ongoing Commentary: Proposed
Draft Revisions to DSM Disorders and Criteria. The American Psychiatric
Association has created a website with proposed changes to the upcoming
revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
- Professor A Stone Freedberg, a distinguished clinician and Harvard
Medical School Professor Emeritus continued to help Dr. Bursztajn
teach medical students patient care until his passing in 2009
at the age of 101. More information about Dr. Freedberg's full
life can be found in his moving obituary in
the Boston Globe.
- Article: Lessons
from a WWII ghetto resonate with doctors today. The Boston Globe
features a story on Dr. Bursztajn's teaching activities at Harvard
medical School relative to learning from his parent's experiences
with doctors during the Shoah. This article was inspired by a recent
Surgical Grand Rounds, "Health
Care in the Lodz Ghetto: Care, Compliance, Conscience and Resistance" that
Dr. Bursztajn presented at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on
July 8, 2009. More recently, the story has been picked up by the Los
- Article: Conflicts
of interest bedevil psychiatric drug research. Dr. Bursztajn
is mentioned along with his colleague and frequent co-author in USA
- Video: Psychology
Behind Unthinkable Crimes. Dr. Bursztajn comments in a Fox News
story on unthinkable crimes between loved ones and family members.
- Article: Developing
Unbiased Diagnostic and Treatment Guidelines in Psychiatry. A
letter to the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine on the
continuing crisis in psychiatric conflicts of interest in relation
to the upcoming revision of the DSM.
- Article: Conflicts
of Interest and Disclosure in the American Psychiatric Association's
Clinical Practice Guidelines.
- Article: Firms
tied to some MDs who set policy. Dr. Bursztajn along with his
Cosgrove and Sheldon
Krimsky is mentioned in a Boston Globe article examining his
latest paper on the writers of psychiatric clinical guidelines and
their financial ties with pharmaceutical companies, published in
the journal of Psychotherapy
- Dr. Bursztajn is quoted in a March 18, 2009 Boston Globe article "Grandson's
erratic behavior detailed" on the recent killing of Eleanor
Clark by her grandson, James Clark.
- Presentation: Unmasking
the Sophisticated Malingerer and Misattributer in Workers' Compensation
Claims at the SEAK 29th
Annual National Workers Compensation and Occupational Medicine Conference,
July 20-23, 2009.
- Article: Managing
Risks When Practicing in Three-Party Care Settings. Psychiatric
Times February 3, 2009.
- Article: Towards
Credible Conflict of Interest Policies in Clinical Psychiatry.
Dr. Bursztajn's article with Lisa Cosgrove with a response from the
chair and vice chair of the the DSM-V Task Force on the need for
transparency of potential conflicts of interest for the conduct of
psychiatric teaching, research, and clinical care and in the drafting
of the next revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
- Case: State of New York vs Nixzaliz Santiago. (2008)
Retained by prosecution for examination of defendant. Articles on
the verdict in
the New York Times
- Case: deVries,
et al. vs Secaucus Fire Department, et al. A landmark civil rights
verdict in a case alleging a town's politicians' failure to protect
a gay couple who were harassed and eventually driven out of their
home next to a fire station in Secaucus. Dr. Bursztajn served as
the plaintiffs' attorneys' retained testifying expert regarding causation,
the nature and extent of the emotional injuries and standards for
reliability and validity for an forensic psychiatric Independent
- Dr. Bursztajn's Letter
to the Editor of Together regarding
Dr. Salomea Kape's article "Searching for Daniel," in the September
- Book: Psychiatric
Ethics and the Rights of Persons with Mental Disabilities in Institutions
and the Community. This book, co-written by Dr. Bursztajn with
Michael Perlin, Kris Gledhill and Eva Szeli contains case studies
contributed by several of his mentees who nominated him for the Barger
Award below, was published on February 25, 2008 and is available
for download at the UNESCO and
the International Center for
Health Law and Ethics at the University of Haifa websites. Physical
copies of the book may be purchased by contacting the editor Amnon
Carmi. All purchased copies will benefit the work of the International
Center for Health Law and Ethics at the University of Haifa and will
help them to continue their work in this vital area.
- In recognition of his many years serving as a Principal
Mentor for students at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Bursztajn
was recently awarded the A.
Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award.
- Dr. Bursztajn testified in three phases of the State
of IL v. Aubrey Tucker trial: a hearing to suppress Tucker's
confession that the defense alleged was coerced, in the guilt/innocence
phase regarding Tucker's ability to form specific intent, and in
the sentencing phase where the jury found that sufficient mitigating
factors were present to preclude a death-penalty verdict.
- Dr. Bursztajn testified in the Lyman Murder Trial in Sioux City,
Iowa. Articles and video from local television stations are available here.
Dr. Bursztajn's recently published article in the September 2007
issue of Psychiatric Annals, DSM
misuse pitfalls evident in clinical training and courtroom testimony.
Dr. Bursztajn's recent articles published in the Psychiatric
Times Bonus Issue on Clinical Psychiatry and the Law. On
Skepticism and Tolerance in Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry and Reducing
the Risk of Addiction to Prescribed Medications.
Dr. Bursztajn's recent article with Milo Fox Pulde, Darlyn Pirakitikulr
and Michael Perlin published in Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy November
2006. Kumho for Clinicians
in the Courtroom - Inconsistency in the Trial Courts.
Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin issue from Autumn 2006 titled "Sparks
of Inspiration" includes the article "Prescriptions
for Hope". Lessons from the Holocaust in how doctors
can heal through hope, an adaptation of Dr. Bursztajn's original
article "Reflections on
My Father's Experience with Doctors During the Shoah (1939-1945)."
Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin issue from Spring 2005 titled "History's
Medical Mysteries" includes the article "Dead
Men Talking, " a synopsis of Dr. Bursztajn's contributions
to three Atlantic
Productions documentaries for the Discovery
Dr. Bursztajn’s contributions as a forensic neuropsychiatrist
to highly acclaimed British-based educational films "Who
Killed Julius Caesar?," "Who
Killed Alexander the Great?," "Columbus:
Secrets from the Grave."
Dr. Bursztajn's recent article with Darlyn Pirakitikulr published
in The Journal of Clinical Ethics (Winter 2006) The
Grand Inquisitor’s Choice: Comment on the CEJA Report on
Withholding Information from Patients.
Dr. Bursztajn as a reviewer for the American Psychiatric Association
in Are You There Alone?
The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates
Choices, Medical Chances: How Patients, Families, and Physicians
Can Cope With Uncertainty
This classic book has been reviewed favorably in leading medical journals
ranging from the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal
of the American Medical Association to the Journal of the
American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Bursztajn continues to have an active clinical practice and consults as a forensic psychiatric expert and teaches nationally both as an individual and as a distinguished multispecialty team expert. He has had a long standing special interest in medical and psychiatric diagnosis. His publications analyzing clinical and forensic neuropsychiatric diagnosis and misdiagnosis range from the highly acclaimed book Medical Choices, Medical Chances through the publication of Analysis: DSM Biases Evident in Clinical Training and Courtroom Testimony to his continued contributions to widely used texts regarding suicide risk assessment and prevention, evaluation of Münchhausen by Proxy, and Shared Delusional Disorder as well to a variety of publications related to medical ethics, forensic psychiatry and forensic geriatric psychiatry.