Robert D. Truog

Robert D. Truog

Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Legal Medicine, Professor of Anesthesia (Pediatrics), Professor of Medical Ethics, Anesthesiology and Pediatrics, and Director of the Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School
Senior Associate in Critical Care Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital
Robert Truog

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.

Dr. Truog was a Faculty Fellow in Ethics in 1990-1991 and a Senior Scholar in Ethics from 2001-2003. He was appointed to the Faculty Committee in 2002.

Current Role

Faculty Fellow

Senior Scholar