Health and Bioethics

Health and professional students graduating today will face a complex, challenging health care environment full of ethical dilemmas. These students will encounter age old ethical challenges that scientists and clinicians have experienced – including truth telling in difficult situations such as informing a patient when they have made a mistake or that the patient has only a short time to live. They will also face a new wave of ethical dilemmas emerging from the explosion of scientific knowledge and technology that challenges our ethics to keep pace with scientific discovery. Now more than ever our health care professionals need a strong moral compass and leadership skills to guide their decision-making and to navigate the complex health landscape of the 21st century.

Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.A., Director of the Health and Medicine Program at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC) and former Assistant Surgeon General of the United States, gave a presentation on ethical challenges facing scientists and health care providers today to an audience of high school and college educators at CSPC’s National Consortium for Character-Based Leadership. These educators are working to incorporate ethics curricula into the high school and university classrooms to help ensure a future generation of scientists, clinicians and health care consumers who will act ethically and who will have the skills to address the challenges in health care and scientific research ahead in the 21st century.

The websites listed below provide useful resources and curricula for teachers and students interested in discussing bioethics in the classroom:

ETHX on the Web - Offers over 210,000 citations to journal and newspaper articles, books, book chapters, reports, audiovisuals, and other documents.

High School Bioethics Project - Offers news, outreach, resources, briefs and digital materials.

Kennedy Institute of Ethics, High School Bioethics Curriculum Project(link) - Offers bioethics curriculum units, meetings and conferences, bioethics in the news, bioethics library, video-lending library, science classroom, social science classroom, and humanities classroom curricula.

National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature (NRCBL) - Offers education/teaching resources, publications, educational opportunities, current topics, and a syllabus exchange catalog.

Northwest Association for Biomedical Research - Offers educational materials including an ethics primer, ethics in the science classroom learning materials, teacher-developed action plans, and teacher-developed lessons.

President's Council on Bioethics - Offers reports on topics of concern to the Council and an overview of bioethics issues.