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Ruth Fischbach; Faculty Affiliate

Professor, Bioethics (in Sociomedical Sciences and Psychiatry), New York Presbyterian Hospital at the Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Ruth Fischbach served from 1998 to 2001 as Senior Advisor for Biomedical Ethics in the Office of the Director of Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health. Here she participated in many federal interagency committees designed to protect the rights and promote the welfare of research participants. While at the NIH, 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. From 1990 -1998, Dr. Fischbach was a bioethicist/ medical sociologist at Harvard Medical School in 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 IRBand served as a consultant for Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospitals. While at Washington University from 1983-1990, as an Assistant Dean, she headed the Ethics Program and founded the Humanities in Medicine Program.

Her current scholarly work focuses on contemporary issues in bioethics including neuroethics, genetics, stem cell research, and advances in assisted reproductive technology. She is the PI on a study to assess concordance in attitudes and experiences with social stigma between parents of children on the autism spectrum and autism genetics scientists. 

Dr. Fischbach is Board member of the Morris Jumel Mansion in historic Washington Heights and is an emeritus member of the Board of Directors of PRIM&R (Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research).


  • Ph.D., Boston University 
  • M.S., Boston University 
  • B.S., Cornell University