Faculty Profile

Dr. Peter A. Selwyn, M.D., M.P.H.

Peter A. Selwyn, M.D., M.P.H.

Professor, Department of Family and Social Medicine

Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health

Professor, Department of Medicine

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Chair, Department of Family and Social Medicine

Director, Palliative Care Program at Montefiore Medical Center

Professional Interests


Medical School: Harvard Medical School
Residency: Montefiore Medical Center (Family Medicine)
Public Health:  Columbia University (Epidemiology)

Professional Activity

I was attracted to Einstein/Montefiore for my residency training because of its reputation and history as both a leading academic medical center and an institution committed to social justice and improving the health of urban, underserved populations. The concept of ‘social medicine’ embodied for me the synthesis of what had led me to medicine in the first place: a combination of healing, service, and an emphasis on the social context and conditions that largely determine health and disease.

After training, in 1984 I became medical director of Montefiore’s Substance Abuse Treatment Program, and was confronted by the impact of the emerging AIDS epidemic on our patient population and community. Working closely with colleagues in multiple departments, we became involved in developing clinical programs and services to meet the complex needs of our patients, as well as collaborating on major research studies of HIV/AIDS, its clinical manifestations, and behaviors related to transmission, risk, and prevention. (See selected publications below.)

I left Einstein/Montefiore in 1992 to join the AIDS Program at Yale School of Medicine, where I was the director of outpatient HIV services, but over time felt the pull of the social medicine mission drawing me back to the Bronx. I returned to the Bronx in 1999 to become chair of the department of family and social medicine, and to help create a palliative care program, which had increasingly become one of my major interests. I am proud of all that we have accomplished over the past years, including significant growth in the department and its diverse programs, and the establishment of the palliative care service on all three Montefiore campuses. I deeply value the environment, the people, and the unique mission and synergies of Einstein/Montefiore, and I am honored to be part of our department, with its dedicated faculty and staff, and its wide array of clinical, educational, research, and community­based programs. I remain actively involved in direct clinical care and teaching in the areas of palliative care and HIV/AIDS, I am also very interested in personal writing and narrative (my memoir about my experiences in the early AIDS epidemic, is entitled “Surviving the Fall: the Personal Journey of an AIDS Doctor). I have also been working with others to develop programs for caregivers to help people recover and heal through grief, loss, and trauma, which I believe is essential for anyone in a caring profession. I welcome contact with students and colleagues in all these areas, and I look forward to continuing this work as it evolves in interesting.

Selected Publications

Recent Publications (selected)

  1. Selwyn PA. Skin deep. JAMA. 2015;313(1):33.
  2. Chambers E, Wong BC, Riley RW, Hollingsworth N, Blank AE, Myers C, Bedell J, Selwyn PA. Combining clinical and population­level data to understand the health of neighborhoods. Am J Public Health, in press, 2015.
  3. Pahuja M, Merlin JS, Selwyn PA. HIV/AIDS. In The Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine, 5th Edition (Cherny N et al, editors). Oxford University Press, 2015.
  4. Liggett A, Sharma M, Nakamura Y, Villar R, Selwyn PA. Results of a voter registration project at 2 family medicine residency clinics in the Bronx, New York. Ann Fam Med 2014; 12: 466­469.
  5. Chu C, Umanski G, Blank A, Grossberg R, Selwyn PA. HIV­infected patients and treatment outcomes: an equivalence study of community­located, primary care­based HIV treatment vs. hospital­based specialty care in the Bronx, New York. AIDS Care, 2010 Dec;22(12):1522­9
  6. Chu C, Selwyn PA. Complications of HIV Infection: A systems-based approach. Am Fam Physician. 2011;83(4):395-406. 
  7. Chu C, Selwyn PA. An epidemic in the evolution: the need for new models of HIV care in the chronic disease era. J Urban Health, 2011; 88(3): 556­566.
  8. Selwyn PA. Palliative care and social justice (editorial). J Pain Symptom Manage 2008; 36(5):513-515.
  9. Selwyn PA. The Island. Ann Family Med 2008;6:78-9. 
  10. Selwyn PA. Palliative care for patients with HIV/AIDS. J Palliative Med 2005; 8:1248-68. 
  11. Selwyn PA, Forstein M. Comprehensive care for late-stage HIV/AIDS: Overcoming the false dichotomy of “curative” vs. “palliative” care. JAMA 2003;290:806-14.
  12. Selwyn PA, Rivard M. Overview of clinical issues. In O’Neill J, Selwyn PA, Schietinger, H, eds., A Clinical Guide To Supportive and Palliative Care for HIV/AIDS. Rockville, MD: Health Resources and Services Administration, 2003.
  13. Selwyn PA, Arnold R. From fate to tragedy: the changing meanings of life, death, and AIDS. Annals of Internal Medicine 1998; 129:899-902
  14. Selwyn PA, Pumerantz AS, Durante A, Alcabes PG, Gourevitch MN, Boiselle PM, Elmore J. Clinical predictors of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia, and tuberculosis in hospitalized patients with HIV infection. AIDS 1998;12:885-93.
  15. Selwyn PA. Surviving the Fall: The Personal Journey of an AIDS Doctor. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.
  16. Frankel R, Selwyn PA, Mezger J, Andrews S. High prevalence of gynecologic disease among hospitalized women with HIV infection. Clinical Infect Dis 1997; 25:700-12
  17. Selwyn PA, Alcabes PA, Hartel D, et al. Clinical manifestations and predictors of disease progression in a cohort of injecting drug users with human immunodeficiency virus infection, 1985-1990. N Engl J Med, 1992;327:1697-1703.
  18. Selwyn PA, Feingold AR, Iezza A, et al. Primary care for human immunodeficiency virus infection in a methadone maintenance treatment program. Ann Intern Med 1989;111:761-63.
  19. Schoenbaum EE, Hartel D, Selwyn PA, et al. Risk factors for human immunodeficiency virus infection in intravenous drug users. N Engl J Med 1989;321:874-79.
  20. Selwyn PA, Hartel D, Lewis VA, et al. A prospective study of the risk of tuberculosis in intravenous drug users with human immunodeficiency virus infection. N Engl J Med 1989;320:1649-54.
  21. Selwyn PA, Carter RJ, Schoenbaum EE, et al. Knowledge of HIV antibody status and decisions to continue or terminate pregnancies among intravenous drug users. JAMA 1989; 261:3567-71.

Material in this section is provided by individual faculty members who are solely responsible for its accuracy and content.

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Research Information

Media Coverage

What’s a question your doctor should be asking you according to a Time interview with Dr. Peter Selwyn and Einstein medical student Ross Kristal?

More media coverage