• College Hall 3

Current Course Offerings


Summer 2016

BIOE 550 900 - Mediation & Negotiation

Instructor: Edward Bergman
Time: Thursdays, 4:30-7:00pm, May 26-August 4
Location: BRB 251, Biomedical Research Building II/III, 421 Curie Boulevard

Effective negotiation skills are requisite to success in all walks of life. They are especially important for caregivers in a clinical setting but evidence suggests that health care providers, physicians in particular, lack the negotiation skills necessary for optimal performance. These individuals must build relationships with patients, family members, colleagues, and the institutional hierarchy in order to provide adequate care and services. Clinical ethics mediation has been proposed as a conflict resolution model especially suited to clinical conflict. Its appeal stems from commitment to an inclusive, non-authoritarian process in which all interested parties can be heard, and respected, for their competencies and the legitimacy of their often opposing, yet legitimate, perspectives. This course will examine how mediation works, the evolution of clinical ethics mediation, and barriers to its implementation. All students will participate in simulated mediations playing the roles of mediator, caregivers, patients, and family members, followed by debriefings with the instructor.


BIOE 560 900 - Pediatric Ethics

Instructors: Steven Joffe and Jennifer Walter
Time: Tuesdays, 4:30-7:00pm, May 24-August 2
Location: BRB 251, Biomedical Research Building II/III, 421 Curie Boulevard

In this course, we will explore the history, conceptual frameworks, and landmark debates of bioethics related to children. We will examine common ethical challenges (e.g., transplantation, critical illness, end of life) when the patient is a child. We will also examine issues unique to children, such as newborn screening, consent vs. assent, the rights and responsibilities of parents, and the role of the courts and the state. We will draw upon theories from moral philosophy, clinical cases, and seminal legal decisions to demonstrate the breadth and complexity of pediatric ethics.


BIOE 570 900 - Ethics of Public Health

Instructor: Anne Barnhill
Time: Wednesdays, 4:30-7:00pm, May 25-August 3
Location: BRB 251, Biomedical Research Building II/III, 421 Curie Boulevard

The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was called a “moral failure.”  The former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has been called a “finger-wagging nanny” because of his public health efforts, such as attempting to ban the sale of some large sugary drinks.  What do these claims mean?  What are the ethical values and the assumptions about public health underlying claims like these?  How does the pursuit of public health come into conflict with individual autonomy, privacy, and social justice?  What are the ethical values and moral imperatives that support or even demand public health interventions?  This course examines these ethical questions, as they bear on obesity prevention, tobacco control, childhood vaccination efforts, breastfeeding promotion, infectious disease control (such as Ebola and Zika), and other public health efforts.


BIOE 545/546 910 - Mediation Intensive I/III (1 CU)

Instructors: Edward Bergman, Autumn Fiester, Lance Wahlert
Time: Thursday-Sunday, April 28-May 1st, 9am-5pm
Location: Blockley Hall, 14th Floor, 423 Guardian Drive

OR

BIOE 547/548 920 - Mediation Intensive II/IV (1 CU)

Instructors: Edward Bergman, Autumn Fiester, Lance Wahlert
Time: Thursday-Sunday, August 4-7th, 9am-5pm
Location: Blockley Hall, 14th Floor, 423 Guardian Drive

This is an immersion experience to learn mediation through role-playing simulations. In this workshop, students will:

  • Learn to effectively manage clinical disputes among and between caregivers, patients, and surrogates through mediation
  • Discover how to define problems and assess underlying interests to generate mutually acceptable opinions
  • Role-play in a variety of clinical situations as both disputants and mediators
  • Practice mediation with professional actors
  • Receive constructive feedback in a supportive environment


Fall 2016

BIOE 601 401/402 - Introduction to Bioethics

Instructor: Autumn Fiester
Time: Tuesdays OR Thursdays, 4:30-7:00, August 30/September 1-December 6/8
Location: BRB, Biomedical Research Building II/III, 421 Curie Boulevard

This course is intended to serve as a broad introduction to the field of bioethics. The course will focus on the central areas in research and clinical ethics: genetics, reproduction, end-of-life, informed consent, the history of human subjects research, and surrogate decision-making. In this course, we will study case analysis, bioethics concepts, relevant legal cases, and classical readings in the field of bioethics.


BIOE 550 001 - Food Ethics

Instructor: Anne Barnhill
Time: Wednesdays, 4:30-7:00, August 31-December 7
Location: BRB, Biomedical Research Building II/III, 421 Curie Boulevard

Eating is an essential human activity: we need to eat to survive.  But how should we eat? In this course, we consider such ethical questions as: Are certain forms of agriculture better for the environment, and is this a decisive reason to support them? What is the extent of hunger and food insecurity, in this country and globally, and what should be done about it? Is it morally wrong to make animals suffer and to kill them in order to eat them? Should we eat in ways that express and honor our cultures, our religions, and our family traditions—or is this comparatively unimportant? Should the government try to influence our food choices, to make them healthier?


BIOE 556 001 - Evidence in Bioethics and Health Policy

Instructors: Steven Joffe & Christopher Feudtner
Time: Mondays, 4:30-7:00, September 12-December 12
Location: BRB, Biomedical Research Building II/III, 421 Curie Boulevard

The ability to critically appraise scholarly work is a necessary skill to effectively contribute to bioethics and health policy debates, and for the development and implementation of health interventions.  The objective of this course is to provide students with the skills needed to become fluent in reading and assessment of empirical bioethics and health service research.  The course will review and evaluate a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods utilized in bioethics, health policy, and medical research.  Specifically, students will learn the conceptual rational for standard qualitative and quantitative methods, their strengths and weakness.  At course completion, students should be able to critically evaluate empirical research published in top bioethics, health policy, and medical journals.


BIOE 590 001 - Ethics in Mental Healthcare

Instructor: Dominic Sisti
Time: Mondays, 4:30-7:00, September 12-December 12
Location: BRB, Biomedical Research Building II/III, 421 Curie Boulevard

Mental healthcare—which includes, but is not limited to, psychiatry, psychology, and clinical social work—is an especially ethically fraught subdiscipline of the larger medical enterprise. Issues range from garden-variety problems related to informed consent, patient capacity, and clinical professionalism to novel issues related to involuntary treatment, research on mentally ill persons, questions about free will and nosological categories. This course will present a survey of these ethical issues by first introducing foundational concepts from ethical theory and the philosophy of psychiatry and mind. Students will be expected to become conversant in several bioethical approaches and methods and be able to use them to critically examine both historical and contemporary questions in mental healthcare and research.


BIOE 558 001 - Ethical Issues in Reproductive Health and Rights

Instructor: Frances Kissling
Time: Thursdays, 4:30-7:00, September 1-December 8
Location: BRB, Biomedical Research Building II/III, 421 Curie Boulevard

Whether dealing with personal decisions or public policy, reproductive health matters are almost always controversial and often intractable. It is almost 50 years since the Supreme Court decision Griswold v Connecticut "settled" the right to contraceptives yet the last several years have been marked by increasing legislative action and judicial review of this right. This course will explore the ethical dimensions of reproductive health controversies including:  1) the moral and legal status of the human embryo and fetus in the context of assisted reproduction, embryonic stem cell research and abortion; 2) contraception, including over-the-counter provision of emergency contraception and contraceptives and legislation challenges to contraceptive insurance coverage in the Affordable Care Act; 3) attempts to restrict access to abortion by restricting later term abortion, mandating informed consent and waiting periods,  and regulating abortion clinics; 4) maternal-fetal relationship including prenatal testing and the regulation of women's behavior while pregnant; 5) assisted reproduction and 6) global concerns such as sex selective abortion, forced abortion and sterilization and reproductive rights in relation to population dynamics and environmental concerns.


BIOE 575 401 - Health Policy

Cross-listed: BIOE 575 | HCMG 250 | HCMG 850
Instructors: Ezekiel Emanuel & J. Sanford Schwartz
Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4:30-6:00, August 30-December 8
Location: STIT B6, Stiteler Hall, 208 South 37th Street

The U.S. health care system is the world's largest, most technologically advanced, most expensive, with uneven quality, and an unsustainable cost structure. This multi-disciplinary course will explore the history and structure of the current American health care system and the impact of the Affordable Care Act. How did the United States get here? The course will examine the history of and problems with employment-based health insurance, the challenges surrounding access, cost and quality, and the medical malpractice conundrum.  As the Affordable Care Act is implemented over the next decade, the U.S. will witness tremendous changes that will shape the American health care system for the next 50 years or more. The course will examine potential reforms, including those offered by liberals and conservatives and information that can be extracted from health care systems in other developed countries. Throughout, lessons will integrate the disciplines of health economics, health and social policy, law and political science to elucidate key principles.  This course will provide students a broad overview of the current U.S. healthcare system. The course will focus on the challenges facing the health care system, an in-depth understanding of the Affordable Care Act, and its potential impact upon health care access, delivery, cost, and quality.


 
 
 

Past Courses 

BIOE 602 401/402 - Conceptual Foundations of Bioethics

Spring 2016
Instructor: Autumn Fiester

This course is one of the 2 foundational courses in the MBE program, which together provide students an entre into the field of Bioethics. In Conceptual Foundations, students examine the various theoretical approaches to bioethics and critically assess their underpinnings. Topics to be covered include an examination of various versions of utilitarianism; deontological theories; virtue ethics; ethics of care; the fundamental principles of bioethics (autonomy, beneficence, distributive justice, non-maleficence); casuistry; and pragmatism. The course will include the application of the more theoretical ideas to particular topics, such as informed consent, confidentiality, and end of life issues.


BIOE 552 - Cultural Competency: Race, Gender, and Disability in Medicine

Spring 2016
Instructor: Lance Wahlert

How do we best serve marginalized and disempowered populations in clinical and scientific practice? How do the categories of race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability inform and complicate the execution of a “best bioethics”?  While the canonical topic of “cultural competency” has largely been understood in the biosciences as synonymous with “cultural sensitivity,” this course takes an historical approach to these questions.  What events have occasioned these identity-specific variables in the biosciences: economically, politically, scientifically, historically?  Taught by the department’s faculty member who specializes in gender, sexuality, and disability discourses, this course features a systematic breakdown of landmark moments in the history of medicine and contemporary clinical practice as relates to the topic of the bioethicist’s duty to cultural competency.  Topics to be addressed in this class include: the socio-political variables related to race and ethnicity in biomedical discourse; the visual ethics of the HIV-positive body; disability access and legal protections under the Americans with Disability Act; language that moves beyond cis-gender and hetero-normative standards of sex; and class-based appreciations of the economics of bioethics.  No previous exposure to gender, disability, race, or sexuality studies is required for this course.


BIOE 565 001 - Rationing and Resource Allocation

Spring 2016
Instructors: Ezekiel Emanuel and Harald Schmidt

You have one liver but three patients awaiting a liver transplant.  Who should get the liver?  What criteria should be used to select the recipient? Is it fair to give it to an alcoholic?  These are some of the questions that arise in the context of rationing and allocating scarce health care resources among particular individuals, and concern what are called micro-allocation decisions.  But trade-offs also need to be made at the meso- and macro-level.  Budgets of public payers of healthcare, such as governments, and of private ones, such as health plans, are limited: they cannot cover all drugs and services that appear beneficial to patients or physicians.  So what services should they provide? Is there a core set of benefits that everyone should be entitled to? If so, by what process should we determine these? How can we make fair decisions, if we know from the outset than not all needs can be met? Using the cases of organs for transplantation, the rationing for vaccines in a flu pandemic, and drug shortages, the course will critically examine alternative theories for allocating scarce resources among individuals.  Using both the need to establish priorities for global health aid and to define an essential benefit package for health insurance, the course will critically examine diverse theories for allocation decisions, including cost-effectiveness analysis, age-based rationing and accountability for reasonableness.


BIOE 580 001 - Research Ethics

Spring 2016
Instructor: Jon Merz

This seminar is intended to give students a broad overview of research ethics and regulation. The students will come out of the class with an understanding of the historical evolution, moral bases and practical application of biomedical research ethics. The course includes reading assignments, lectures, discussions and practical review of research protocols and in-class interviews with researchers and study subjects. Course topics include: history of human subjects protections, regulatory and ethical frameworks for biomedical research, informed consent theory and application, selection of fair research subjects and payment, confidentiality, secondary uses of data and stored tissue, ethics of international research, pediatric and genetic research and conflicts of interest in biomedical research.


BIOE 603 001 - Clinical Ethics

Spring 2016
Instructors: Kim Overby

Since the 1960s, medical technology has rapidly expanded our capacity to intervene in peoples’ lives.  At the same time, profound changes in the health professions, healthcare delivery systems, and society at large have led to fundamental shifts in the relationship between patients and healthcare professionals, as well as medicine and society. The field of clinical ethics arose in response to these dynamic changes and continues to work to understand and help parties navigate the dilemmas and conflicts that arise in the context of modern medical care.  In this course, we will explore key ethical issues in contemporary healthcare across all stages of life. We will focus on a range of issues such as: interpreting professional duties in the context of the current care environment, challenges associated with healthcare decision-making and end-of-life care, and new issues arising from emerging technologies, populations, and systems of care. Topics will be examined from multiple vantage points including that of the patient, their informal caregivers, and members of the interdisciplinary care team.  The instructor will draw upon her work as a clinical ethicist, high profile cases in the media, seminal legal cases, and historical and contemporary readings to highlight both persistent and emerging ethical challenges in today’s clinical practice.


BIOE 545/547 - Mediation Intensive I/III

January 2016
Instructors: Edward Bergman, Autumn Fiester, and Lance Wahlert
 

BIOE 546/548 - Mediation Intensive II/IV

April 2016
Instructors: Edward Bergman, Autumn Fiester, and Lance Wahlert

This is an immersion experience of learning through role-playing mediation simulations. It has the same format of the other Mediation Intensives, but will NOT duplicate simulations. Students will:

  • Learn to effectively manage clinical disputes among and between caregivers, patients and surrogates through mediation
  • Discover how to define problems and assess underlying interests to generate mutually acceptable options
  • Role-play in a variety of clinical situations as both disputants and mediators
  • Practice mediation with professional actors
  • Receive constructive feedback in supportive environment

BIOE 601 401/402 - Introduction to Bioethics

Fall 2015
Instructor: Autumn Fiester

This course is intended to serve as a broad introduction to the field of bioethics. The course will focus on the central areas in research and clinical ethics: genetics, reproduction, end-of-life, informed consent, the history of human subjects research, and surrogate decision-making. In this course, we will study case analysis, bioethics concepts, relevant legal cases, and classical readings in the field of bioethics.

BIOE 550 001 - Bioethics and the Law

​Fall 2015
Instructor: Jon Merz

This course will present a broad survey of topics at the intersection of law and bioethics. Much of bioethics deals with topics of public policy, and law is the tool of policy. Areas to be covered will range from an overview of American law making to enforcement mechanisms, topics including FDA regulations, state interventions into beginning and end of life issues, privacy, malpractice, healthcare reform, and international issues, including those related to innovation and access to medicines.

BIOE 551 001 - Narrative Ethics: Health, Medicine, and Literature

​Fall 2015
Instructor: Lance Wahlert

What is it like to live with a chronic, debilitating, or fatal illness? What does it mean to treat a sick person as a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional? And how does it feel to be a caregiver, witness, or outside party in such circumstances? All of these questions will inform the central query of this course: How do personal narratives inform, explain, or complicate our understandings of the medical world?

In recent decades, medical humanities scholars and bioethicists have striven to include the perspectives of multiple persons in the history and storytelling of medicine. Moreover, leading medical, nursing, and public health schools have incorporated narrative studies as a part of the training of their future doctors, nurses, and clinicians. While such strategies have been innovative at the level of revamping scholastic curriculums, they are hardly new in medical history. From the case study to the medical history to the talking cure, storytelling has been a central component in the diagnostic, therapeutic, and pastoral strategies of medical cosmologies for centuries.

As a trans-historical study of medical storytelling, this course will be concerned with the power of narratives to bring coherence and meaning to the lives of sick persons, caregivers, and medical professionals at moments of great physical and emotional crisis. Accordingly, this course will consider a range of historical and contemporary topics that speak to the bioethical dilemmas of telling, reading, disseminating, and interpreting medically relevant narratives. While we will largely focus on non-fictional accounts (memoirs, medical records, journals, and testimonials), we will also consider how fictional literary sources (stories, poetry, films, and works of art) explore and affect matters related to the topic of “narrative and bioethics.”

BIOE 553 001 - History of Bioethics

​Fall 2015
Instructor: Jonathan Moreno

This course will offer a survey of key documents in the history of bioethics- such as the Hippocratic Oath, the Nuremberg Code, and the Belmont Report- alongside important works in the philosophy of medicine that collectively created the foundation for the young field.  We will also consider the documentary value of certain films, such as Who Should Survive? and Dax's Case. The great documents will be supplemented by important readings that place them in context and help show how understandings of bioethical principles and themes have been modified and refined, revealing how these documents have responded to key contemporary triggers of ethical reflection.

BIOE 555 001 - Mind Matters: Emerging Ethical Issues in Neuroscience

​Fall 2015
Instructor: Sally Gibbons

In April 2014, Barack Obama announced the BRAIN initiative, supporting research that will “revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and uncover new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.”  Committing $300 million in public and private funds, this initiative reflects the widespread belief that we will not only soon understand the complex workings of the brain, and with it the mind, but also predict and even shape and transform human behavior. Of course, these developments inevitably bring with them deeply contentious ethical questions.

In this course, we will critically evaluate the use of neuroimaging to assess a person’s mental status, temperament, and other behaviourally significant features, and we will explore the use of this kind of information in criminal cases. We will also look at new work attempting to discern whether and what kind of conscious awareness may exist in patients with PVS.  We will explore the implications of using mood enhancing drugs, memory dampening techniques, brain stimulation, and neural prostheses and their potential affects on identity and even human nature. We will look at arguments for and against brain sex and neuro-diversity, with an eye towards classifications that “loop” back to shape those so classified.

BIOE 575 401 - Health Policy

​Fall 2015
CROSS-LISTED: BIOE 575 | HCMG 250 | HCMG 850
Instructors: Ezekiel Emanuel and Sanford Schwartz

The U.S. health care system is the world's largest, most technologically advanced, most expensive, with uneven quality, and an unsustainable cost structure. This multi-disciplinary course will explore the history and structure of the current American health care system and the impact of the Affordable Care Act. How did the United States get here? The course will examine the history of and problems with employment-based health insurance, the challenges surrounding access, cost and quality, and the medical malpractice conundrum.

As the Affordable Care Act is implemented over the next decade, the U.S. will witness tremendous changes that will shape the American health care system for the next 50 years or more. The course will examine potential reforms, including those offered by liberals and conservatives and information that can be extracted from health care systems in other developed countries. Throughout, lessons will integrate the disciplines of health economics, health and social policy, law and political science to elucidate key principles.  This course will provide students a broad overview of the current U.S. healthcare system. The course will focus on the challenges facing the health care system, an in-depth understanding of the Affordable Care Act, and its potential impact upon health care access, delivery, cost, and quality.

BIOE 550 900 - Vaccine Ethics and Policy

Summer 2015
Instructor: Jason Schwartz

Vaccination is routinely described as one of the foremost achievements in the history of public health. Vaccines are also viewed as powerful potential tools against a growing list of novel disease targets from HIV to Ebola, to name just a few. Despite this enthusiasm, vaccination is a frequent source of controversy, with critics in the United States and worldwide questioning the safety, effectiveness, and necessity of vaccines. Persistent allegations of a link between childhood vaccines and autism, vocal opposition to U.S. state laws that mandate vaccination in order to attend school, and debates over the appropriate distribution of vaccines during public health emergencies are three of the most visible examples of the often contentious atmosphere surrounding vaccination programs and policy today.

In this course, we will explore critical topics in vaccine policy in the United States and internationally, considering the interconnected ethical, political, social, cultural, legal, economic, and historical issues that contribute to ongoing debates about the proper role of vaccines and vaccination programs in public health and global health activities. We will read materials that offer insights and evidence on these topics from numerous disciplinary perspectives, including public health, medicine, health policy, history, ethics, and the social sciences. Students will gain a thorough understanding of the scope and design of contemporary vaccination efforts in the United States and worldwide, the major concerns of vaccine proponents and critics alike, and the contributions of principles and concepts from bioethics and public health ethics to the promotion of individual and population health through vaccination.

Course topics include: vaccination and the ethics of public health; vaccine research and development; vaccine regulation and risk-benefit assessments; safety monitoring and injury compensation; vaccines and autism; vaccine financing and access; mandatory vaccination programs and parental vaccine refusal; vaccines in pandemic, bioterrorism, and Ebola response; human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines; eradication campaigns; vaccines and global health.

BIOE 551 900 - Precision Medicine: Its Claims and Implications

Summer 2015
Instructor: Pamela Sankar

Precision medicine refers to the movement to individualize medical treatment at the molecular level through the collection, organization, and analysis of genomic, clinical, and exposure data.  Its realization demands innovation from informatics as much as from medicine. Portrayed as capable of improving diagnosis and treatment as well as lowering health care costs, precision medicine garners support from a wide array of government, business, and research interests. In this course we will examine the historical and scientific origins of precision medicine—asking, if precision medicine is the solution, what was the problem and according to whom? The course will explore the ethical implications of precision medicine with particular attention to confidentiality and privacy, social justice, and health disparities.

BIOE 580 900 - Research Ethics

Summer 2015
Instructor: Jon Merz

This seminar is intended to give students a broad overview of research ethics and regulation.  The course will convey the moral bases of scientific ethics and the historical evolution of social science and biomedical research ethics and the development, implementation, and limitations of US human subjects regulations.  The course includes readings, lectures, and case-based discussions addressing the following topics: ethics and morality in science; science in society; scientific integrity; misconduct; whistleblowing; conflicts of interest; collegiality, publication and authorship; peer review; the history and development of human experimentation ethics and regulations (HHS, FDA), Institutional Review Boards; informed consent, waivers, vulnerable populations; privacy and the confidentiality of records; epidemiology; ethics in the social sciences; and research using animal subjects.