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Douglas B. White, MD, MAS

UPMC Chair for Ethics in Critical Care Medicine

Professor, Departments of Medicine and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Director, Program on Ethics and Decision Making in Critical Illness, CRISMA Center, Department of Critical Care Medicine

412.864.3757
Admin Assistant: Jackie Toboz
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Dr. White graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1995 with a degree in English Literature. He received his MD from UCSF in 1999 and completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UCSF. While at UCSF, he also completed a Master’s degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and a fellowship in Bioethics under Bernard Lo. He joined the faculty at UCSF in 2005 as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and a Core Faculty of the Program on Medical Ethics. In 2009 he joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in the Departments of Critical Care Medicine and Medicine as an Associate Professor. He was also appointed as a core faculty member in the Center for Bioethics and Health law at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. White directs the University of Pittsburgh Program on Ethics and Decision Making in Critical Illness. His research program encompasses both empirical research on and normative ethical analysis of surrogate decision-making for patients with life-threatening illness. He has several ongoing NIH funded studies. He has published widely using both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the process of surrogate decision making in intensive care units. In conducting this work, he collaborates with a multi-disciplinary group of investigators, which includes faculty with expertise in bioethics, law, philosophy, sociology, biostatistics, and health services research. His empirical research program has two central aims: 1) to identify factors that adversely affect surrogate decision-making for critically ill patients; and 2) to develop and test interventions to improve surrogate decision-making. His normative work focuses on ethical issues that arise in intensive care units, including the allocation of scarce resources, resolving futility disputes, responding to conscience-based treatment refusals by clinicians, and developing fair processes of decision making for incapacitated patients who lack surrogate decision makers.
 

Education & Training

Degree

Year

Field

Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH BA 1995 English Literature
University of California, San Francisco, CA MD 1999 Medicine
University of California, San Francisco, CA Residency 2002 Internal Medicine
University of California, San Francisco, CA Fellowship 2005 Pulmonary & Critical Care
University of California, San Francisco, CA MAS 2006 Epidemiology & Biostatistics
University of California, San Francisco, CA Fellowship 2007 Clinical Ethics

Administrative Titles

 
2016 - Present University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Department of Critical Care Medicine Professor

2012- Present

University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Department of Critical Care Medicine

UPMC Endowed Chair for Ethics in Critical Care Medicine

2012 - 2016

University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Department of Critical Care Medicine

Tenured Associate Professor

2009 - 2012

University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Department of Critical Care Medicine

Visiting Associate Professor

2009 - 2012

University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Department of Medicine

Visiting Associate Professor

2009 - Present

University of Pittsburgh, Department of Critical Care Medicine

Director, Program on Ethics and Decision Making in Critical Illness

2009 - Present

University of Pittsburgh, Center for Bioethics and Health Law

Core Faculty

2005 - 2009

University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, Department of Medicine

Assistant Professor

2007 - 2009

University of California, San Francisco

Director, UCSF Clinical Ethics Core

2005 - 2009

University of California, San Francisco

Investigator, Program in Medical Ethics

Non Academic

   

2009 - Present

UPMC Presbyterian Hospital

Attending Physician

 

Honors

   

1994, 1995

Dartmouth College 

Rufus Choate Scholar  

1995

Dartmouth College  

Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society     

1995

Dartmouth College  

Summa Cum Laude  

1996

UCSF

UCSF Dean’s Research Scholarship  

1998

Mt Everest Expedition

Expedition Medical Officer, 1998 American   

1999

USCF

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society

2006

Society for Medical Decision Making

Lee Lusted Prize for Outstanding Mentored Research

2008

Society for Critical Care Medicine

Award for Outstanding Ethics Research   

2008

Greenwall Foundation

Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholar Award in Bioethics

2008

NIA American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR)

Paul B. Beeson Career Development Award in Aging Research, Starr Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies

2008, 2010

Annals of Internal Medicine   

Top reviewer 

2009

UCSF School of Medicine     

Reza Gandjei Lectureship in Bioethics 

2010

American Thoracic Society   

Top Latebreaking Randomized Trial in

Critical Care Medicine

2011

American Lung Association of New England

Theodore Badger Memorial Lecture 

2011

Connecticut Thoracic Society

John Zinn Memorial Lecture

2012

Society for Critical Care Medicine

Grenvik Family Award for Ethics

2013

University of Pittsburgh

UPMC Endowed Chair of Ethics in Critical Care Medicine

2013

National Institutes of Health

Standing Member, NIH Societal and Ethical Issues in Research (SEIR) Study Section

2013

University of Toronto

Goldstein Lectureship

2014

Johns Hopkins University

Shallenberger Lectureship

 

See Dr. White's Research Investigator Page

 

Current Research Projects

Family Support Intervention in Intensive Care Units: A randomized trial to improve surrogate deicsion-making for critically ill older adults

Identifying Effective Strategies to Disclose Prognosis in Patients with ARDS

Eliciting and Incorporating Patients' Values into Life Support Decisions

Using Simulation to Study ICU Conflcts

Improving Psychological Distress Among Critical Illness Survivors and Their Informal Caregivers

Improving Decision Making for Patients with Prolonged Mechanical Ventilation

Statement on futility and goal conflict in end-of-life

 

Completed Research Projects

A randominzed trial to improve surrogate decision-making for critically ill elders

This Paul Beeson Career Development Award in Aging supports a randomized controlled trial of a multi-faceted intervention to improve surrogate decision-making and life support decisions for critically ill elders at high risk for death or functional impairment in intensive care units.

Validation of a Mortality Predicition Model for Prolonged Mechanical Ventilation

A scoring system that can determine the risk of death for patients who become critically ill and require mechanical ventilation for weeks or months has been developed in a single hospital.  This study will determine if this scoring system is accurate in patients who require prolonged mechanical ventilation at other hospitals in the U.S.

ESCAPE (Enhancing Surge Capacity and Partnership Effort)
The aim of this project is to develop procedures to ensure the ethical allocation of scarce medical resources during a public health emergency.  It involves partnerships between health care facilities, public health departments, and alternate care sites.

Role: Consultant. I provide guidance on the ethical issues involved in fairly allocating scarce, life saving resources during a public health emergency.

NIH Career Development Award
The goal of this award is to develop the skills to lead a multidisciplinary clinical and translational research program. This grant also supports Dr. White to lead a prospective cohort study using mixed methods to determine predictors of physician-family discordance about prognosis in critically ill patients at high risk of death.

UCSF Research Evaluation and Allocation Committee                     
This grant supports a prospective cohort study to determine predictors of physician-family discordance about prognosis in critically ill patients at high risk of death.

Medical Decision Making in Incapacitated Critically Ill Patients Who Lack Surrogates.
This foundation grant supported a prospective cohort study examining the incidence of incapacitated patients without surrogates in ICUs and the decision-making practices associated with treatment limitation in this population.

Multidisciplinary Research Training Program in Pulmonary Disease
The major goal of Dr. White’s project is to develop a framework to evaluate how physicians communicate prognostic information to the surrogate decision maker of critically ill, incapacitated patients.


Publications

See Douglas B. White's Publications