Education & Training
Fellowship, Ethics, Harvard University, Cambridge MA (1991-1992)
Fellowship, University of Washington, Seattle WA (1978-1980)
MPH, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle WA (1980)
Residency, University of Washington, Seattle WA (1977-1978)
Residency, Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta GA (1975-1977)
MD, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston MA (1975)
College, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley CA (1971)
As the leader for ethics evaluation activities in the National Center for Ethics in Health Care (VHA), Dr. Pearlman was responsible for developing and evaluating assessment tools related to ethics quality. For example, he helped develop a staff survey on clinical and organizational ethics, which was recently revised into a short set of questions for assessing ethics culture in VA. This information is intended to inspire quality improvement initiatives. He also led an effort to develop a tool to assess the quality of ethics consultation based on written documentation. Aspects of this tool are being used in VA ethics consultation coaching calls, as well as the VA ethics educational program to ensure consistent quality in providing and documenting ethics consultations.
Dr. Pearlman’s current activities include identifying metaphors (from literature) to assist in health care provider-patient communication about patient suffering. His previous research studies pertained to ethics in end-of-life care. His research documented that clinicians often are inaccurate in understanding their patients’ preferences and values about life-sustaining treatment, so consequently he developed a patient-centered workbook to assist in advance care planning. He also studied the relationship between health states and preferences to forego
life-sustaining treatment. Other studies have focused on quality of life in decision-making, informed consent, and motivation for assisted suicide. The goal of his earlier studies and current activities is to improve ethics practices in delivering health care to older patients.