About Alice Flaherty, MD, PhD

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Dr. Alice Flaherty is a neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor of both neurology and psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

She is the director of the Movement Disorders Fellowship, and treats patients with movement and mood disorders. She was the site principle investigator for the trial of the first successful genetic treatment of Parkinson's Disease. While still a resident she wrote The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Neurology. It received a national award for its innovative approach, and has been multiply translated. She is the author of The Midnight Disease, an award-winning nonfiction book about the neural basis of creativity. The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle named it one of the year's best books. Her work on this subject has been featured in publications ranging from The New Yorker to Brazilian business magazines to a photo-essay in National Geographic. As a clinician, Dr. Flaherty was honored by the Schwartz Center's statewide Compassionate Caregiver program.

A strong media advocate for the abilities of the mentally and neurologically ill, she has appeared as an expert on TEDx and more than 20 TV news and documentary shows, both in the US and internationally. A five-part Radiotopia podcast focused on her role as the neurologist of Pulitzer-winning author William Styron. She is the protagonist of an award-winning short documentary, Bedside Manner, which received a festival nomination for an Academy Award.

Dr. Flaherty completed her AB, MD, internship, residency, and fellowship at Harvard. In an attempt at diversity, she also did a PhD at MIT.

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:



Mass General Neurology
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 855-644-6387

Medical Education

  • MD, Harvard Medical School*
  • Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital

American Board Certifications

  • Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Accepted Insurance Plans

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Dr. Flaherty's research focuses on the control of voluntary action and on how our brains represent our bodies. Disorders of these system drive suffering in depression, Parkinson's, and somatic symptom disorders.


      1. Flaherty AW. Homeostasis and the control of creative drive. In R. E. Jung & O. Vartanian (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of the neuroscience of creativity. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018
      2. Brain illness and creativity: mechanisms and treatment risks. Flaherty AW. Canadian J Psychiatry. 2011 Mar;56(3):132-43. PMID: 21443820
      3. VIM thalamic stimulation for monoclonal gammopathy-associated tremor. Shields DC, Flaherty AW, Eskandar EN, Williams ZM. Neurosurgery. 2011 Feb 9.  PMID: 21311371
      4. Flaherty AW. Frontotemporal and dopaminergic control of idea generation and creative drive. J Comparative Neurology, 2005;493(1):147-53
      5. Flaherty AW. The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain.  Boston: Houghton, Mifflin; 2004.

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