Robert Whitaker (author)

Robert Whitaker is an American journalist and author, writing primarily about medicine, science, and history.[1]


Whitaker was a medical writer at the Albany Times Union newspaper in Albany, New York from 1989 to 1994. In 1992, he was a Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT.[2] Following that, he became director of publications at Harvard Medical School.[3] In 1994, he co-founded a publishing company, CenterWatch, that covered the pharmaceutical clinical trials industry. CenterWatch was acquired by Medical Economics, a division of The Thomson Corporation, in 1998.[4]

In 2002, USA Today published an article of Whitaker, Mind drugs may hinder recovery in its Ediorial/Opinion section.[5] In 2004, Whitaker published a paper in the non-peer-reviewed journal Medical Hypotheses, titled The case against antipsychotic drugs: a 50-year record of doing more harm than good.[6] In 2005, he published his paper Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America in the Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry.[7] In his book Anatomy of an Epidemic, published in 2010, Whitaker continued his work.[8][9][10]

Mad in America

Main article: Mad in America

He has written on and off for the Boston Globe and in 2001, he wrote his first book Mad in America about psychiatric research and medications, the domains of some of his earlier journalism.[11][12] He appeared in the film Take These Broken Wings: Recovery from Schizophrenia Without Medication released in 2008, a film detailing the pitfalls of administering medication for the illness.

Awards and honors

Articles that Whitaker co-wrote won the 1998 George Polk Award for Medical Writing[13] and the 1998 National Association of Science WritersScience in Society Journalism Award for best magazine article.[14]

A 1998 Boston Globe article series he co-wrote on psychiatric research was a finalist for the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.[15]

In April 2011, IRE announced that Anatomy of an Epidemic had won its award as the best investigative journalism book of 2010 stating, "this book provides an in-depth exploration of medical studies and science and intersperses compelling anecdotal examples. In the end, Whitaker punches holes in the conventional wisdom of treatment of mental illness with drugs."[16]



  1. author's biography
  2. article in MIT's The Tech
  3. interview with author
  4. news coverage of deal
  5. "Mind drugs may hinder recovery". USA Today. March 3, 2002.
  6. Whitaker, R. (2004). "The case against antipsychotic drugs: a 50-year record of doing more harm than good". Medical Hypotheses. 62 (1): 5–13. doi:10.1016/S0306-9877(03)00293-7. PMID 14728997.
  7. Whitaker, Robert (Spring 2005). "Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America" (PDF). Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry. 7 (1): 23–35. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  8. Fitzpatrick, Laura (May 3, 2010). "The Skimmer". Time. Retrieved October 5, 2010.
  9. Burch, Druin (April 7, 2010). "Does psychiatry make us mad?". New Scientist. Reed Business Information. Retrieved October 5, 2010.
  10. Good, Alex (May 21, 2010). "Book review: Anatomy of an Epidemic". The Record. Metroland Media. Retrieved October 5, 2010.
  11. interview of Whitaker in The Street Spirit
  12. A 50-Year Record of Doing More Harm Than Good Medical Hypotheses, 62 (2004):5-13
  13. 1998 George Polk Award Winners at a Glance
  14. 1998 Science in Society Journalism Awards
  15. 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service
  16. "IRE Awards 2010" (PDF). Investigative Reporters and Editors. Retrieved 2011-05-11.

Further reading

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