William S. Breitbart, MD -- Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Chief, Psychiatry Service

William S. Breitbart, MD



Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Chief, Psychiatry Service; Jimmie C. Holland Chair

Clinical Expertise

Management of Depression, Delirium, Pain, Fatigue, and Distress; End of Life Care

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Accepted Insurance Providers

Dr. Breitbart accepts the following list of insurance providers. Select your insurance provider to see more details.

Contact and Location

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Find a Convenient Location

Memorial Sloan Kettering has locations throughout New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester. These locations offers many services, including screening, chemotherapy, and medical testing.

About Me


MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine


Bronx Municipal Hospital Center


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Board Certifications

Internal Medicine; Psychiatry

I am a board-certified psychiatrist whose expertise focuses on the psychiatric aspects of pain, symptom control, and palliative care in cancer patients. I have been Chief of the Psychiatry Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center since 1996 and Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences since 2009, and currently serve as Chair of the Department. I provide individual interventions to patients, couples, and family members. In addition, I am the psychiatric liaison to the Hepatobiliary Disease Management Team and the Palliative Medicine Service. I am also a member of the Brain Tumor Center faculty.

I also lead the psychotherapy laboratory, which conducts novel counseling interventions for cancer patients at all stages of disease and cancer types as well as couples and families. My research interests have included fatigue related to cancer and AIDS; depression in terminally ill AIDS and cancer patients; meaning-centered psychotherapy for advanced cancer patients; and delirium research.

I helped to establish the American Psycho-Oncology Society (APOS), I am the President of the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS), and I am the past president of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, all organizations of specialists in my field. In addition, I am on the board of directors of many other medical societies. I am the recipient of the 2009 Willet F. Whitmore Award for Clinical Excellence from Memorial Sloan Kettering, and the 2009 Arthur Sutherland Award for Lifetime Achievement in the field of psycho-oncology from IPOS. Additionally, I am a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and was a faculty scholar of the Project on Death in America. I am editor-in-chief of the international palliative care journal entitled Palliative and Supportive Care.

Awards and Honors

  • Castle Connolly: New York Magazine Top Doctors (2002-2018)


Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering work as teams, with specialists from all different areas. This allows us to consider all your needs together, and to give you the best possible care.

Clinical Trials

Smiling doctors in the lab

Find a Clinical Trial for You

Memorial Sloan Kettering's doctors and scientists are constantly developing new treatments for cancer. MSK is typically running hundreds of clinical trials at a given time.

You may be able to participate in a clinical trial even if you are new to MSK. Search our online directory to find trial information and see more about who can participate.

Research and Publications

Publications on PubMed

Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Breitbart’s journal articles. Pubmed is an online index of research papers and other articles from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.