Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Department of Medicine

Faculty Profiles

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photo Robert M. Arnold, MD

General Internal Medicine

Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine

Chief, Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics

Director, Institute for Doctor-Patient Communication

Medical Director, UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute

Email: rabob@pitt.edu

Phone: 412-692-4810

Contact
Office: UPMC Montefiore Hospital, Suite 933W
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
 
Phone: 412-692-4810
Fax: 412-692-4315
E-mail: rabob@pitt.edu
Administrative Assistant:
Colleen Kosky
Address: 3600 Forbes Avenue
Suite 308 Iroquois Building
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Email: koskycj@upmc.edu
Phone: 412-802-3360
Fax: 412-864-2911
Education and Training
Education
BA in Biology and Philosophy, University of Missouri, Kansas City, 1983
MD, University of Missouri, Kansas City, 1983
Training
Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, 1986
Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, Philadelphia, 1988
Research Interest
My research focuses on how clinicians operationalize ethical precepts in the care of seriously ill patients. I work at the interface of communication skills training, medical ethics, and palliative care, in an effort to improve clinicians’ skills. My current research focuses on teaching palliative care communication skills to clinicians using both face to face courses and new technologies and understanding the impact of these educational interventions. I also work with junior investigators to better understand the impact of primary palliative care interventions in oncology and cardiology. Finally I am interested in studying health system wide interventions to improve seriously ill patients’ and families’ experiences.

Three principles have guided my scholarly work: (1) Being a catalyst in collaborative work with other investigators—including sociologists, anthropologists, linguists, psychologists, physicians, and nurses—to bring about changes in the world; (2) Being a clinician. Part of the reason I still spend 30 percent of my time seeing patients is because providing clinical care is where most of my ideas come from; specifically, I am interested in the difficult situations that clinicians face and how to improve our practice in these scenarios; and (3) Being an educator. My scholarly work is tied to my efforts to improve clinicians’ ability to deal with difficult clinical scenarios. Thus, while some of my work is empirical, a number of my most quoted papers focus on providing clinicians with mental models that help them communicate with seriously ill patients in a clearer and more empathic manner.
Clinical Interest
Dr. Arnold's clinical activities focus on providing palliative care consults in a tertiary care hospital and working in a supportive oncology ambulatory practice. He was the president of the America Society of Bioethics and Humanities and the American Association of Palliative and Hospice Medicine.
Educational Interest
Dr. Arnold's educational activities focus on teaching ethics to residents and developing educational programs in specialties ranging from oncology to critical care medicine. Dr. Arnold is currently developing a structured curriculum on doctor-patient communication for fellows in critical care and trying to better understand the barriers to communication.
Publications
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Sponsored Research/Activities
Title: What We Talk about When We Talk about Surgery: Redesigning the Conceptual Framework for Preoperative Communication about Surgical Intervention
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: University of Wisconsin/ Greenwall Foundation
Start Year: 2019
End Year: 2022
Title: Motivational Interviewing to Address Reluctance and Ambivalence in Palliative Care
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: University of Colorado
Grant Number: RES AWD-172806
Start Year: 2017
End Year: 2019
Title: Palliative Care Training
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: The Milbank Foundation
Start Year: 2015
End Year: 2017
Title: Patient-centered and efficacious advance care planning in cancer: the PEACe comparative effectiveness trial
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute
Grant Number: R01 CA235730
Start Year: 2019
End Year: 2024
Title: Expanding National Capacity and Diversity in Palliative care through Mentorship and Training
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: Arthur Vining Davis Foundation
Start Year: 2019
End Year: 2020
Title: SARAH: Supporting Families, Aligning Goals, and reducing Avoidable Hospitalizations in Serious Illness
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: The Milbank Foundation
Start Year: 2019
End Year: 2020
Title: A Cluster Randomized Trial of a Supportive Care Intervention (CONNECT) for Patients with Advanced Cancer
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute
Grant Number: R01 CA197103
Start Year: 2016
End Year: 2021
Title: University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Team Science)
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences
Grant Number: UL1 TR001857
Start Year: 2016
End Year: 2021
Title: Developing a Tablet-Based Tool to Enhance Communication and Shared Decision Making Among Clinicians and Surrogates Decision Makers in ICUs
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institute of Aging
Grant Number: R21 AG050252
Start Year: 2015
End Year: 2017
Title: The University of Pittsburgh PCOR Career Development Program
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Grant Number: K12 HS022989
Start Year: 2014
End Year: 2019
Title: A Stepped Wedge Trial of an Intervention to Support Family Members in ICUs
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institute of Nursing Research
Grant Number: R01 NR014663
Start Year: 2014
End Year: 2019
Title: A Trial to Improve Surrogate Decision Making for Critically Ill Older Adults
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institute of Aging
Grant Number: R01 AG045176
Start Year: 2013
End Year: 2018
Notable Achievements
Best Doctors in America, 2006-2020
Pittsburgh Magazine Top Doctors, 2010-2016
American Academy of Healthcare Communication George L Engel Award, 2015
Pittsburgh Business Times Health Care Heroes, 2016
Patricia Price Brown Award in Ethics, 2016
Who’s Who in the World, 2017, 2018, 2019
Association of Specialty Professor Eric Neilson Award, 2018
Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, 2018
Hastings Center Fellow, 2019
UPMC Physician Excellence Award - Excellence in Leadership, 2020