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Ruth L. Fischbach, PhD, MPE

Ruth L. Fischbach, Professor of Bioethics and Director and Co-founder of the Center for Bioethics, is a faculty member both in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Prior to arriving at Columbia, Dr. Fischbach served from 1998 to 2001 as the Senior Advisor for Biomedical Ethics in the Office of the Director of Extramural Research at the NIH. Here she participated in many federal interagency committees designed to protect the rights and promote the welfare of research participants. She produced Bioethics Resources on the Web, a useful Web site resource for the research community, and two guidance documents: Protection of Participants in Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and Research Involving Individuals with Questionable Capacity to Consent: Points to Consider. She received an NIH Award of Merit for her efforts in establishing the Tuskegee Center for Bioethics. Preceding service at the NIH, from1990 -1998 Dr. Fischbach was a bioethicist/medical sociologist at Harvard Medical School in both the Department of Social Medicine and the Division of Medical Ethics. She was Director of the Program in the Practice of Scientific Investigation, served on the HMS IRB and served as a consultant for both Massachusetts General and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospitals. While at Washington University from 1983 - 1990, she completed a master’s degree in Psychiatric Epidemiology, headed the Ethics Program, founded the Humanities in Medicine Program,  and served as an assistant dean.

Her current scholarly work focuses on contemporary issues in bioethics including neuroethics, genetics, stem cell research, and advances in assisted reproductive technology. She has published several articles re neuroethics, produced a Web-based course in Neuroethics), and intends to offer an elective in the medical school on neuroethics.  Currently, she is the PI on a study to assess concordance in attitudes and experiences with genetics and social stigma between parents of children on the autism spectrum and autism genetics scientists.

At Columbia, Dr. Fischbach serves on the CUMC Milstein Hospital Ethics Committee, Children's Hospital Ethics Committee, the University’s Stem Cell Oversight Committee, and the Advisory Board for the Center for the Study of Science and Religion. Beyond Columbia, Dr. Fischbach is an elected fellow of AAAS section on Medicine as well as Member at Large of AAAS Section X, serves on both the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Medical and Professional Advisory Council and the Gold Foundation Honor Society, the Population Council IRB at Rockefeller University, and the Board of Directors of the Morris Jumel Mansion in historic Washington Heights.  Dr. Fischbach is an emeritus member of the Board of Directors of PRIM&R (Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research) on which she served for 19 years.

Original Peer Reviewed Articles:

Loike JD, Fischbach RL. New Ethical Horizons in Gestational Surrogacy. Journal of Fertilization: In Vitro, IVF- Worldwide, Reproductive Medicine, Genitics & Stem Cell Biology. 2013. doi: 10.4172/jfiv.1000109.

 Loike JD, Fischbach RL. Ethical Challenges in Biodefense and Bioterrorism. Journal of Bioterrorism and Biodefense. January 21, 2013. S12:002. doi:10.4172/2157-2526.S12-002

Oquendo M, Feldman S, Brown G, Chen D, Chiapella P, Fischbach RF, Gould Stanley B, Strauss D, Zelazny J, Pearson J.  Variability in the definition and reporting of adverse events in suicide prevention and trials: An examination of the issues and a proposed solution.  Archives of Suicide Research. 2011 Jan;15(1):29-42.

*Loike JD, Gillick M, Mayer S, Prager K, Simon J, Steinberg A, Tendler MD, Willig M, and Fischbach RL: The Critical Role of Religion: Caring for the Dying Patient from an Orthodox Jewish Perspective. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2010;13(10):1267-1271.

Loike J, Fischbach RL, Tendler, MD. Jewish views on the beginnings of human life and the use of medical intervention to produce children. The American Journal of Bioethics. Nov.1, 2009. 9(11):45-47.

Loike, J and Fischbach R. Benefits of the stem cell ban at, 2009.

Sughrue ME, Sander Connolly E Jr., Ducruet AF, Fischbach RL, Komotar RJ, Mack WJ, Martin TE, Mocco J. Bioethical Considerations in Translational Research: Primate. American Journal of Bioethics.  2009; 9(5):3-12.

Fischbach RL, Loike JD. Postmortem fatherhood: Life after life. The Lancet. July 28, 2008. 371:3-5.

*Simon J, Fischbach RL.  Letter to the Editor in response to “Doctor, Will you turn off my LVAD?”  The Hastings Center Report. May-June 2008. 38 (1): 3-4.

 Simon J., Fischbach, RL.  “Doctor, Will you turn off my LVAD?”. The Hastings Center Report. Jan-Feb 2008. 38 (1):14-15.

bullet Fischbach RL, Fischbach GD. Neuroethicists Needed Now More Than Ever. American Journal of Bioethics . Jan-Feb 2008;8(1):1-3

bullet Fischbach RL, Valentine MA: Cross-cultural perspectives in Domestic Violence. In: Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence.  New York: Routledge, 2007:216-219.

Fischbach RL and Valentine MA: Depression and Domestic Violence. In: Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence. New York: Routledge, 2007:238-240.

Fischbach, RL. Clinical Bioethics: Bringing Resolution to Conflict in Patient Care. P&S. 2007;27:48.

 Morris MC., Besner D, Vazquez H, Nelson RM, Fischbach RL.  Parental Opinions about Clinical Research. Journal of Pediatrics. 2007 Nov; 151(5): 532-7. 537.el-5. Epub 2007 Aug 23.

Morris MC, Fischbach RL, Nelson RM, Schleien CL, A paradigm for inpatient resuscitation research with an exception from informed consent.  Critical Care Medicine.  2006 Oct: 34(10): 2567-2575.

Di Tillio-Gonzalez D, Fischbach RL. Harmonizing regulations for biomedical research: A critical analysis of the U.S. and Venezuelan systems.  Developing World Bioethics. 2006 Oct 13. ISSN 1471-8731 (print); 1471-8847 (online).

 Fischbach RL, Fischbach GD. The brain doesn’t lie. American Journal of Bioethics. 2005; 5(2): 54-55.

 Fischbach RL. Overview: Loneliness in the context of illness. The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine.  Accessed on the Web at on March 15, 2005.

 Morris MC, Nelson RO, Fischbach RL.  An innovative approach to exception from informed consent for pediatric resuscitation research. Poster presentation. American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. 2004.

 Fischbach GD, Fischbach RL. Stem cells: science, policy, and ethics. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2004 Nov; 114(10):1364-1370.

 Fischbach RL, Korn D:  Whether to present grave information in the face of uncertainty.  Bioethics Across Borders.  American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.  Oct. 22-26, 2003. pp. 103-105 (abstract).

 Fischbach RL. Conflicts of interest and threats to the conduct of clinical research. SOCRA Source 2003; 37:16-19.

 Fischbach RL. Conflicts of interest and the conduct of clinical research. SOCRA Source 2001; 28:13-16.


bullet Di Tillio-Gonzalez D, Fischbach RL. The Informed Consent Form in Developing Countries (In Preparation)

Books and Chapters:

bullet  Loike JD and Fischbach RL: Frontiers in Bioethics. New York: ST Press. 2013.

bullet  Fischbach RL and Mindes. Why Neuroethicists are Needed. IN: The Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics, Illes and Sahakian (ed.s). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011: 343-376. 

Reviews, Editorials, and Letters:

bullet Fischbach, RL, quoted in “Bioethics programs called to address “new normal” under health care reform. Bioethics programs must take steps to prevent loss of funding.” Medical Ethics Advisor. Vol 29, No 1, pp.1-3.January 2013.


bullet Fischbach RL, quoted in “Debating the ethics of freebies in exchange for glowing reviews,” The Kansas City Star. July 21, 2008.  

bullet Fischbach RL, Loike JD.  End of Life Issues from a Jewish Perspective. The Jewish Press. June 25, 2008

Abstracts and Posters:

bullet *Fischbach, RL, Loike, JD, Mindes, J.  Stem Cells: Biology, Ethics, and Applications.  On Line Distance Learning Course.  Poster Presentation Columbia Stem Cell Day, May 23, 2011.

bullet *Woo JA, Fischbach RF. Physician Participation in Judicial Execution by Lethal Injection and State Medical Board Positions. Poster presentation. 2009 Annual Meeting of the Federation of State Medical Boards, Arlington, VA.

Web-based Distance Learning Courses:

bullet Stem cells: Biology, Ethics, and Applications (2012)

bullet Neuroethics: Implications of Advances in Neuroscience. Ruth L. Fischbach with Dina J. Feivelson, Gerald D. Fischbach, Emily Gilmore, Elizabeth Haberfeld, Justine Seidenfeld, 2008. Accessed on the web at Funded by the Dana Foundation.

bullet Privacy and Confidentiality in Research. Ruth L. Fischbach with Joyce Plaza, 2006. Accessed at Supported by funding from the NIH T15 award and the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), HHS

bullet Conflicts of Interest. Ruth L. Fischbach with Joyce Plaza, April 13, 2005. Accessed on the Web at Supported by funding from the NIH T15 award and the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), HHS


bullet Fischbach RL, as quoted in “Coming Soon to YouTube: My Face-Life”, The New York Times. June 26, 2008.

bullet Simon J., Fischbach, RL.  Letter to the Editor in Response to “Doctor, Will you turn off my LVAD?”  The Hastings Center Report. May-June 2008. 38 (1): 3-4.

bullet Fischbach RL. New York Times, Letter to the Editor:  “I have bad news.” January 17, 2006.

* Senior  or corresponding author



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