Dr. James Bernat

Class of 1965

Dr. Bernat holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts (1969) where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College (1973). He trained in internal medicine and neurology at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (1973-77).


He has been a member of the Dartmouth Medical School faculty since 1976 where he has held the rank of Professor of Medicine (Neurology) since 1989. He serves as Director of the Program in Clinical Ethics at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Dr. Bernat previously served as Assistant Dean of Clinical Education at Dartmouth Medical School and Associate Chair of Neurology. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (1978). He has been elected to Fellowship in the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Neurology.


Dr. Bernat's scholarly interests are in ethical and philosophical issues in neurology, particularly in the study of states of unconsciousness. He has served as a consultant to the Vatican on brain death and has testified before the U.S. Senate Health Committee about states of unconsciousness.


Dr. Bernat has lectured nationally and internationally on ethical aspects of neurological practice. He has published over 150 journal articles and book chapters on topics in neurology and clinical ethics. He has authored Neurology: Problems in Primary Care, 2ndED (PMIC, 1993) and Ethical Issues in Neurology, 2nd ed. (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002), and co-edited Palliative Care in Neurology (Oxford University Press, 2004).