Harold J. Bursztajn, M.D. [CV], a Harvard Medical School ('77) and Princeton University ('72) honors graduate, maintains an active patient practice, has a distinguished academic achievement record, and consults nationally. He is currently a senior clinical faculty member at Harvard Medical School and co-founded the Program in Psychiatry and the Law at the Beth Israel Medical Center Psychiatry of Harvard Medical School. In recognition of his many years serving as a Principal Mentor for students at Harvard Medical School Dr. Bursztajn recently received the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award. Additionally, he consults, teaches, and testifies nationwide as an expert qualified in general psychiatry and forensic neuropsychiatry. His special areas of interest include medical and psychiatric malpractice, psychiatric diagnosis, suicide prevention, sexual boundary violation claim evaluations, risk management consultation, boundary training, detection of malingering, pain impairment evaluations, informed consent, medication management standards, managed health care, psychiatric and forensic neuropsychiatric autopsies, testamentary capacity, diminished capacity, death penalty mitigation, and employment related issues such as ADA, disability, workers' compensation, and sexual harassment. Other areas of special clinical and forensic interest include the forensic neuropsychiatric evaluation of medical complications of psychiatric illness and medication as well as psychiatric complications of medical illness.

Dr. Bursztajn's litigation prevention services include both continuing education workshops and individual consultations. He has taught clinicians, judges, and attorneys on a variety of forensic topics, including evaluation of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and detection of medical and psychiatric malingering and misattribution, as well as a variety of clinical topics, including informed consent, assessment of suicide, pain management, psychopharmacology, the addictions, and the treatment of acutely and chronically mentally ill patients. He also consults widely to both public and private organizations including state and federal agencies, the courts, law firms, health care providers, educational institutions, and corporations.

Dr. Bursztajn has published more than 70 peer-reviewed medical journal articles, 4 books, and more than 30 book chapters. He is also a major contributor to national media health reporting designed to educate the general public. A respected peer reviewer for medical, mental health, and ethics journals, he has been qualified nationally as an expert in State and Federal courts. He has served on a variety of advisory and expert panels including the ABA State Judicial Institute Benchbook Project for Judges.

"There is a growing recognition of the deep influence of unrecognized but influential biases on decision-making in medicine. In economics the 2002 Nobel prize winner Danny Kahneman focused on such biases or heuristics." Dr. Bursztajn in his first book "Medical Choices" pioneered integrating the decision-analysis framework of Daniel Kahneman and his long-time collaborator, Amos Tversky, with the psychoanalytic framework originated by Sigmund Freud to provide medical decision-makers and educators with a road map of common motivational and heuristic pitfalls to avoid in medical decision-making.

His writings have contributed to an increased awareness of the need for physicians to be able to analyze their own countertransference responses to patients in managed health care pressured settings. Such works include Captive Patients, Captive Doctors and Managed-Health-Care Complications and Clinical Remedies.

Dr. Bursztajn's work also helps psychiatrists working with the sickest patients on managed health care pressured inpatient units to be able to analyze the meanings and motivations behind decision-making behavior which can sometimes lead to premature discharge and tragic outcomes for some of these patients. For more detail, see Triage Pitfalls in Managed Medical and Mental Health Care.

Dr. Bursztajn's contributions to protecting public education and safety include being among the public opinion leaders urging the identifying, stopping and preventing of the current vicious cycle of cop-cat terrorism. He often consults as a forensic psychiatric expert for public education and the news media. His public service contributions include a focus on protecting public safety. He has appeared nationally on CNN Headline News (October 21, 2002) and on the Discovery Channel's programs "Who Killed Julius Caesar?, " "Who Killed Tutankhamen?," "Who Killed Alexander the Great?," "The Mysterious Death of Cleopatra," and "Columbus: Secrets From The Grave" and regionally on the New England Cable News NECN (October 16, 2002). Before the identities of the terrorist snipers were revealed, he urged law enforcement and the public to be on the lookout not for those in the mold of serial killers but to focus its search on potential "copy-cat" terrorists who were encouraged by 9/11 to join the cycle of terrorism currently sweeping the globe under the false promise being offered by some Islamic fundamentalists of heaven for holy war murderers.

What motivated Dr. Bursztajn to become a doctor?

Reviews of and praise for Dr. Bursztajn and his work.

Interviews and Features of Dr. Bursztajn and his work

Harold J. Bursztajn

President of the American Unit of the UNESCO Bioethics Chair
Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
co-Founder, Program in Psychiatry & the Law @
BIDMC Psychiatry of Harvard Medical School
TEL (617) 492-8366 FAX (617) 441-3195
e-mail: harold_bursztajn@hms.harvard.edu