J. Cassell, MD, M.A.C.P.
Emeritus Professor of Public Health
Weill Medical College of Cornell
Adjunct Professor of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine McGill
Attending Physician, New York
Phone: (917) 365-5639
Email: Eric "at" EricCassell.com
Education and Professional Experience:
I retired from the active practice of internal medicine in 1998 after thirty-seven years.
I received my BA from Queens College in 1950, an MA from Columbia University
also in 1950 and my M.D. from New York University College of Medicine in 1954.
I did my postgraduate training in Internal Medicine on the 3rd Medical Division of
Bellevue Hospital in New York City. I was a U.S. Public Health Service Fellow in
infectious disease in the Department of Public Health of Cornell University Medical
College serving under Dr. Walsh McDermott and Dr. Rene Dubos 1959-1961. I was
a captain in the Medical Corp of the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958 in France (how delightful).
I remained in the Department of Public Health at Cornell where, in 1961, I started
doing research and writing extensively on the health effects of air pollution which
continued for several years. I have been on the faculty of New York University School
of Medicine and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. I am a member of the Academy of
Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences
and a Master of the American College of Physicians. I was a member from 1997
to 2001 of the President’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission.
Interests and some personal things:
Interests and some personal things:
I was born, raised, and educated in New York City. I have loved medicine, sick
people, doctors, and almost all else about medicine for a very long time.
(I don’t love hospitals as much now as before.)
In 1971, a generous fate (and something I had written) placed me on The Task
Force on Dying at the Hastings Center. I became a founding Fellow of the
Hastings Center. That literally changed my life, broadened my horizons, pushed
me to become literate, and gave substance to a genetic predisposition to philosophy.
I began to wonder whether a doctor could actually treat patients in a successfully
useful and special way because they were dying. I started doing that in the fall of 1971.
Now we know you not only can, but you should.
Since that time I have written a lot about moral problems in medicine, the care of
the dying and the nature of suffering. I am the author of The Healer's Art (1976),
Changing Values in Medicine (1979), two volumes on doctor patient communication
entitled Talking with Patients (1984), Doctoring: The Nature of Primary Care Medicine
(1997), and The Nature of Suffering, now in its second edition (2004). (Please read
the new chapters 13-15 about mind/body and meaning). The Nature of Healing (2013),
The Nature of Clinical Medicine (2014) took 25 years to be born. Professionalism and
the Rebirth of Medical Education, by J Donald Boudreau, Eric J Cassell, and
Abraham Fuks has come out in April 2018
Since retiring, and with the blessing of enough sleep and not so much worry, I
continue actively to teach, lecture widely, and write (and write). My major interest
is the theory of clinical medicine and the development of new ideas to guide
medicine’s practice and teaching. One of my tests for every idea continues to be
whether it works in end-of-life care. I am married to Patricia Owens, who knows
more about disability policy than anyone in the world, and who taught me all I
know about disability. Between us we have eight grown children, but not enough
grandchildren. We live both in rural Pennsylvania and in Brooklyn, under the
Brooklyn Bridge. I continue to travel and lecture.