Douglas Blakemore White, MD, MAS
Photo: Douglas Blakemore White
Elected 2017

Dr. White is currently Vice Chairman and Professor in the Department of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He directs the University’s Program on Ethics and Decision Making in Critical Illness. Dr. White’s primary research interests are 1) identifying effective strategies to disclose news of a poor prognosis to surrogate decision-makers in ICUs and 2) developing and testing interventions to improve surrogate decision-making in ICUs. Using a range of experimental and qualitative methods, Dr. White’s team established that the high prevalence of overly optimistic expectations about prognosis among surrogate decision-makers arises partly from psychological processes such as optimism bias amongst surrogate decision-makers, rather than merely from their miscomprehension of prognostic information. Dr. White is particularly interested in developing scalable interventions to improve surrogate decision-making for incapacitated patients. He is currently leading three NIH-funded trials testing differing kinds of interventions to improve surrogate decision-making for critically ill patients and to reduce the long-term psychological distress of family members acting as surrogate decision-makers.