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Robert M. Arnold, MD

Leo H. Creip Chair of Patient Care, Department of Medicine

Director, Palliative Care Service

Director of the Institute for Doctor-Patient Communication

University of Pittsburgh

Medical Director Palliative and Supportive Care Institute of UPMC





UPMC Montefiore

Suite 932W

200 Lothrop Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15213


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Dr. Arnolds General Internal Medicine Faculty Page

Robert M. Arnold is the Center’s Director of Clinical Training. He is a Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine. In 1997, he formed the Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, where he is now Chief. In 2000, Dr. Arnold was named the first Leo H. Creip Chair of Patient Care. The chair emphasizes the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, particularly at the end of life. Dr. Arnold is the Director of the Institute for Doctor-Patient Communication and a Co-Director of the Institute to Enhance Palliative Care. A board-certified internist, he is clinically active in both HIV and palliative care.


Dr. Arnold has published extensively on ethical issues in end-of-life care, hospice and palliative care, doctor-patient communication, and on ethics education. His current research interests are focused on educational interventions to improve communication in life-limiting illnesses and to understand how ethical precepts are implemented in clinical practice. He has been heavily involved in Oncotalk and Oncotalk-Teach, an evidence-based method to teach oncology fellows communication skills. He recently received funding from the National Palliative Care Research Center, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation and the Jewish Health Care Foundation to develop a similar program for intensivists regarding critical care communications. Previously Secretary/Treasurer and National Meeting Chair of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Hospice Medicine. He is also a Past President of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and of the Society for Health and Human Values (in 1996-1997).


Medical Ethics Practicum Certificate – University of Tennessee, Memphis (1982)
Graduate level philosophy with emphasis on medical ethics – University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1982)
BA – Biology and Philosophy, University of Missouri (1983)                                             
MD – University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Medicine (1986)                                           
Residency – General Internal Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital (1986-1988)

Awards, Honors, and Fellowships

University of Missouri-Kansas City Alumnus of the Year Award (2008)
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine/Hospice
and Palliative Nurses Association Pioneer in Palliative Care Award (2008)
Who’s Who in Medical Sciences Education (2005)
Guide to America’s Top Physicians (2003)
American Society of Bioethics and Humanities Distinguished Service Award (2000)

Research and Professional Interests

Undergraduate and graduate medical education for end-of-life care
Doctor-patient Communication
Palliative medicine

Symptom burden in chronic dialysis patients


Research Support: Ongoing

Outpatient Early Intervention Services with Respect to HIV Disease – Ryan White Title III (Part C) 

Robert Arnold, MD, Co-PI 

Funding Agency: HRSA 


“Train-the-Trainer": Critical Care Communication Skills 

Robert Arnold, MD (PI) 

Funding Agency: Arthur Vining Davis Foundations 


Communication on Illicit Drug and/or Alcohol Use in Obstetrics 

Robert Arnold, MD, (Co-PI)


Geriatric Education Centers of Pennsylvania 

Robert Arnold, MD, (Co-PI) 

Funding Agency: HRSA 

Selected Publications

Schell J, Arnold RM. The Benefits of a Second Conversation: How Experience Influences Decision-making. Seminars in Dialysis (in press).


Schenker Y, Arnold RM, London A. The Ethics of Advertising for Healthcare Services. American Journal of Bioethics (in press).


Schenker Y, Crowley-Matoka M, Donhan D, Rabow M, Smith C, White DB, Chu E, Tiver GA, Einhorn S, and Arnold RM. Oncologist Factors that Influence Referral to Subspecialty Palliative Care Clinics. Journal of Oncology Practice (in press).


Schenker Y, Maciasz R, Park SY, Arnold RM. Do Advanced Cancer Patients with Unmet Palliative Care Needs Have an Interest in Receiving Palliative Care Services? Journal of Palliative Medicine (in press).


Schenker Y, Dew MA, Reynolds CF, Arnold RM, Tiver GA, Barnato AE. Development of a Post-Intensive Care Unit Storytelling Intervention for Surrogates Involved in Decisions to Limit Life Sustaining Treatment. Palliative Supp Care. Published Online, February 2014.


Schuster RA, Hong SY, Arnold RM, White DB. Investigating Conflict in ICUs-Is the Clinicians' Perspective Enough?*. Crit Care Med 2014 Feb;42(2):328-35. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3182a27598.


Barnato A, Arnold RM, Loewenstein G. The Effect of Emotion and Physician Communication Behaviors on Surrogates’ Life Sustaining Treatment Decisions: A Randomized Simulation Experiment. Critical Care Medicine, 2013; 41(7): 1686-1691.


Back A, Arnold RM. "Yes it's sad, but what should I do?": Moving from empathy to action in discussing goals of care. J Palliat Med 2013 Dec 21. [Epub ahead of print].


Back AL, Arnold RM. Isn’t There Anything More You Can Do? When Empathic Statements Work, and When They Don’t. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 2013; 16(11): 1429-32.


Mularski RA, Reinke LF, Carrieri-Kohlman V, Fischer MD, Campbell ML, Rocker G, Schneidman A, Jacobs SS, Arnold RM, et al. An Official American Thoracic Society Workshop Report: Assessment and Palliative Management of Dyspnea Crisis. Annals of the American Thoracic Society, Volume 10, No. 5, 2013; S98-S106.


Anderson WG, Bryce C, Angus D, Arnold RM. Passive decision-making preference is associated with anxiety and depression in relatives of patients in the intensive care unit. Journal of Critical Care June 2009; 24(2): 249-54.


Goodlin S, Arnold RM, Quill T. Communication and decision making about prognosis in heart failure care. Journal of  Cardiac Failure 2008; 14(2): 106-113.


Aulisio M, Arnold RM. The role of the ethics committee: helping to address value conflict or uncertainty. Chest 2008; 134: 417-424.


Arnold RM. Life lessons in palliative care. Journal of Palliative Medicine 2007; 10(5): 1050-53.


Fryer-Edwards K, Arnold RM, Baile W, Tulsky JA, Petracca F, Back A. Reflective teaching practices: an approach to teaching communication skills in a small-group setting. Academic Medicine July 2006; 81(7): 638-44.


Garber M, Arnold RM. Promoting the participation of minorities in research. American Journal of Bioethics May-June 2006; 6(3): W14-20.


Candilis PJ, Lidz CW, Arnold RM. The need to understand IRB deliberations. IRB January-February 2006; 28(1): 1-5.