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Department: MEFAM-Family and Community Medicine
Course: 418-Introduction to Clinical Medical Ethics
Track: Ethics Track

Course Coordinator: Dr. Joseph Kass
Course Faculty: Dr. Joseph Kass
Elective Location:
Periods Elective offered: Qtr: 1,4
Min. Number of Students:Max: 12
Course Level: Clinical Elective: Counts toward 32-credit graduation requirement
Credit: 8
Visiting Student Elective: Yes
Open to International Students: Yes
Grading: H,HP, P, MP, F Narrative Evaluation
Faculty Approval: Yes

Time Commitment Percentage of time expected
Regular Hours (Mon-Fri): Inpatient Ward:
Night Call: Inpatient consultations:
Number on-call nights: Outpatient clinics:
Weekends: Surgery:
Statement of Goals:
1. Gain practical experience in the identification, management, and prevention of ethical issues in clinical practice settings. 2. Define ethics consultation and processes for conducting and evaluating ethics consultation. 3. Develop tools of research and scholarship in clinical ethics, building on foundations of the first-year required ethics course and the second-year reading course in bioethics. 4. Increase familiarity with specialized topics in clinical ethics related to individual professional goals and interests. 5. Prepare project for the fourth-year research elective in the Baylor Ethics Track.
Learning Activities
Clinical experiences in various specialties, working in teams weekly to prepare and write an ethics work-up followed at end of each week by in-depth discussion of ethics work-up. 2. Seminars in which assigned readings on methods of clinical ethics will be discussed in depth. 3. Research seminars and individual meetings with Dr. Blumenthal-Barby (Research Elective Director) to develop research elective projects. 5. Course evaluation. The course meets for 4 weeks per session, 3 times a year. Students meet as a group for 6 hours per week, each of the 4 weeks. In addition, each student shadows 18-21 hours total during the 4 weeks and is responsible for submitting a case reflection and either a full ethics work-up or a multi-page paper critically examining one of the numerous reading assignments.
Evaluation Methods
1. Case Write-up: Due one week after your rotation within the hospital. Each student will be required to submit a full case write-up on one of the cases you observed within the hospital. The case write-up must be at least 4-5 pages in length and employ the Ethics Work-up to justify a course of action. Please note that you do not need to advocate for the approach taken by the clinical ethicist in the case you observed, and we encourage you to consider alternative positions (30% of grade). ALTERNATIVE ASSIGNMENT: Please pick one reading, either from the articles we assigned you or elsewhere, where you critique the article. To do this, consider doing the following: 1. Summarize the purpose of the article, including what the authors intend to accomplish. 2. Their main arguments and whether/how you support one or more of their arguments 3. Critique their arguments –are there strengths? Could there be counterarguments? What might those be? What might they have not considered? Unpack their arguments 4. Offer alternative approaches, recommendations; maybe offer an ethical framework or typology Please consider bringing in other articles to support your claims. Provide the citations. It should be around 4-5 pages double-spaced. You’re welcome to send us outlines, etc for comments and to confirm that you’re headed down a good path. 2. Participation during class: Students should come to class prepared to engage in a discussion focused on the assigned readings for each class session. Participation grades will be based on the student’s participation in any class discussions (30% of grade) 3. Evaluation/professionalism during ethics consultations: The clinical ethicist must be accessible, available, and prompt. For instance, it is considered highly unprofessional for a clinical ethicist to arrive late to a family meeting. The student, in turn, should be likewise accessible, prompt, professional, and engaged. For the evaluation, students will be graded on their engagement (e.g., asking questions at appropriate times), professionalism (e.g., being courteous to healthcare professionals and families/patients), accessibility, availability, and promptness (30% of grade) 4. Reflection sessions. Students will write up a 1 page, double-spaced reflection on a case that they saw that day or the experience itself and email it to the course director and the clinical ethicist they worked with within 3 days of completing their observation experience. This does not need to be a full analysis (10% of grade).
When and Where to report on first day of service:
For additional information regarding this elective contact:
Contact Name: Betsy Kusin
Contact Phone: 713-798-6804
Contact Fax: 713-798-5678
Contact Location: Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy
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