Jason Karlawish, MD

Jason Karlawish, MD


Professor, Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine

Jason Karlawish is a physician and writer. He is a Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Neurology at Penn and cares for patients at the Penn Memory Center (www.pennmemorycenter.org), which he co-directs. His research focuses on issues at the intersections of bioethics, aging and the neurosciences. He leads the Penn Program for Precision Medicine for the Brain (P3MB). He has investigated the development and translation of Alzheimer’s disease treatments and biomarker-based diagnostics, informed consent, quality of life, research and treatment decision making, and voting by persons with cognitive impairment and residents of long term care facilities. P3MB has developed standards for Alzheimer’s disease biomarker disclosure and investigated the clinical impacts of this knowledge on persons and their families.

He essays on aging, ethics and Alzheimer’s disease have appeared in Forbes.com, KevinMD, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and STAT news. He is the author of Open Wound: The Tragic Obsession of Dr. William Beaumont, a novel based on true events along the 19th century American frontier, that tells how emotion and passion, together with social and political pressures, slowly corrupt the physician’s character and ethics, a corruption that drives Dr. Beaumont to increasingly desperate acts. He is currently writing a book about how Alzheimer’s disease became a crisis and what we should do to address the crisis.

Karlawish has disseminated his research in leading textbooks of medicine and bioethics, testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Aging and the Department of Health and Human Services Subcommittee on the Inclusion of Individuals with Impaired Decision-making in Research, and collaborations with the Alzheimers Disease Cooperative Study, the Alzheimers Association, American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging, AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the State of Vermont, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He is an international proponent of mobile polling, a method of bringing the vote to long term care facilities that minimizes fraud and maximizes voter rights. In a widely publicized essay in the Journal of the American Medical Association, he introduced the concept of “desktop medicine,” a theory of medicine that recognizes how risk and its numerical representations are transforming medicine, medical care, and health.

He studied medicine at Northwestern University and trained in internal medicine and geriatric medicine at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago.