Kenneth Prager, M.D.

Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center
Director of Clinical Ethics


Dr. Prager is Professor of Medicine, Director of Medical Ethics, and Chair of the Medical Ethics Committee at Columbia University Medical Center. He spent two years in the Indian health Service practicing general medicine on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota after his medical internship. Dr. Prager held clandestine medical clinics in the Soviet Union during a visit to Refuseniks in 1986, and later set up the first U.S. - Soviet medical student exchange program between Columbia P&S and the First Moscow Medical Academy.

Dr. Prager has been a pulmonologist for over 43 years. He teaches pulmonology and medical ethics to medical students, house officers and nurses. His writings on medicine and medical ethics have appeared in medical journals and textbooks as well as on the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Prager was a regular guest lecturer in Israel for the Ben Gurion University MD Program in International Health and Medicine in collaboration with Columbia University Health Sciences. He has received numerous honors for his patient care, clinical expertise, teaching, and contributions to organ donation. Among these are The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award and the Columbia University Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Education and Training

B.A. from Columbia University, New York, 1964
Medical School:
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 1968
Internal Medicine, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY, 1968-1969
Internal Medicine, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY, 1971-1972
Chief Residency:
University of Chicago, Department of Medicine, Billings Hospital, Chicago, IL 1972-1973

Selected Honors and Awards

  • 1964 Phi Beta Kappa, Columbia College
  • 1984 Rafael Award for Medicine, Sanz Medical Center, Netanya, Israel
  • Fellow, American College of Physicians
  • One of New York City's Best Internists/Pulmonologists, Castle Connoly Guide: How to Find the Best Doctors, New York Castle Connoly Guide: America's Top Doctors Metro Area, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2001-12.
  • One of New York City's Best Pulmonologists, "The Best Doctors in New York," New York magazine, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2007
  • 1999-2000 Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center House Staff Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching--Senior Faculty
  • 2003-2012 MarquisWho's Who in America
  • 2003, 2006, 2011 Guide to America's Top Physicians, Consumers Research Council of America
  • 2003 Physician on the Year Award, Department of Nursing, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center
  • May 2006 The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation
  • June, 2006 Alfred Markowitz Service Award, Society of Practitioners, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center
  • 2007-08 Ewig Clinical Education Award, Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center
  • Commencement Speaker Medical School graduation, Ben Gurion University MD Program in International Health and Medicine; Beersheva, Israel, May 27, 2003.
  • Fellow New York Academy of Medicine
  • AOA Distinguished Lecture, Uniformed Services University Medical School, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda Maryland, May 6, 2010.
  • 2012 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year; New York Presbyterian/Columbia Society of the Alumni
  • 2015 Columbia University Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching


For appointments: 

Herbert Irving Pavilion 161 Fort Washington Avenue, Suite 310 New York, NY 10032

P: (212) 305-5535
F: (212) 305-8281


  • Pulmonary Disease Medicine
  • Medical Ethics

Clinical Expertise

  • General Pulmonary Medicine
  • Medical Ethics

Board Certifications

  • Internal Medicine Diplomate, 1973

Selected Publications

  1. Prager, K. Medical Care for the Elderly: Should Limits Be Set? Virtual Mentor. American Medical Association Journal of Ethics; 2008;8(6):404-410.
  2. Woo J. and Prager K. Substituted Misjudgment Clin Ethics 2009; 4(4): 208—210.
  3. Prager K. When is the request of a surrogate too unreasonable to follow? Ann Thorac Surg. 2009 Nov;88(5):1723.
  4. Loike J, Gillick M, Mayer S, Prager K, Simon JR, Steinberg A, Tendler MD, Willig M, Fischbach RL. The critical role of religion: caring for the dying patient from an Orthodox Jewish perspective. J Palliat Med. 2010 Oct;13(10):1267-71.
  5. Blinderman CD, Prager K. The right to information--a first step toward improving end-of-life care. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2011 May;41(5):e1-2
  6. Marvin M, Prager K, Wohlauer M, Chandler J. Sanctity and organ donation's societal value. Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons.2012 Jan;97(1):12-23.
  7. Prager, K. "For Everything A Blessing," in "A Piece of My Mind" column in JAMA, 1997; 277:1589.
  8. Edwards N, Prager K. Nothing is Fair or Good Alone [ethical issues in setting age limits for heart transplant candidates], The Journal of Thoracic nd Cardiovascular Surgery, 2003:125;23-24.
  9. Prager K, Oz M. Proposed Policy for Ventricular Assist Device Removal, Ann Thorac Surg 2002;73:1688-96.
  10. Prager K. The Crisis of Medical Humanism: Challenges to Resuscitating the Weakened Heart of American Medicine. MD Advisor. Spring 2012, 37-40.
  11. Acres C, Prager K, Hardart G, Fins J. Credentialing the Clinical Ethics Consultant: An Academic Medical Center Affirms Professionalism and Practice. The Journal of Clinical Ethics. Summer 2012. 156-164.
  12. Prager K, Hardart G. Ethical Challenges Posed by Trisomy 18 Infants. The Israel Medical Association Journal. 2012;14:498-500.
  13. Goswami S., Evans A, Das B, Prager K, Sladen RN, Wagener G. Determination of Brain Death by Apnea test Adapted to Extracorporeal Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. J Cardiothoracic Vasc Anesth 2013: Apr;27(2) 312-4. Prager K. When Physicians and Surrogates Disagree about Futility. Virtual Mentor. 2013;15:1022-1026.
  14. Abrams DC, Prager K, Blinderman CD, Burkart KM, Brodie D. The Appropriate Use of Increasingly Sophisticated Life-Sustaining Technology. Virtual Mentor. 2013;15:1050-1055.
  15. Darryl C. Abrams; Kenneth Prager; Craig D. Blinderman; Kristin M. Burkart; Daniel Brodie. Ethical Dilemmas Encountered With the Use of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Adults. Chest. 2014;145(4):876-882.
  16. Education Research: A case-based bioethics curriculum for neurology residents; Benjamin Tolchin, Joshua Z. Willey and Kenneth Prager; Neurology 2015;84;e91-e93
  17. Karel-Bart C, Prager K. Health Care Ethics Consultation in the United States AMA Journal of Ethics. 2016; 18:475-478.
  18. Hardart G, M.D., M.P.H., M.D., Labriola M, M.D., Prager K, M.D., Morris M, M.D., M.P.H. Consent for organ donation after circulatory death at U.S. transplant centers. American Journal of Bioethics, August 2, 2017.
  19. Rubin J, Prager K, Guide to Considering Nonpsychiatric Medical Intervention Over Objection for the Patient Without Decisional Capacity. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, April 5, 2018.

View Dr. Prager's full list of publications from PubMed