CBHX 2400 Clinical Bioethics

Course Description 2014-2015

In this longitudinal concurrent case-based course which spans the third year, students meet in small groups with a faculty tutor to discuss ethical issues presented in patient care. Students bring their own cases for discussion, and faculty provide other cases to provide the opportunity to discuss and learn about ethical principles and a method of case analysis for ethical concerns raised in patient care. Advanced communication skills are addressed in this course.

Type of Course: Concurrent, required course for MSIIIs; 1 credit
Course Directors:

Downtown Campus, Syracuse

Thomas Curran, Jr., MD

Clinical Campus, Binghamton

Domenico Prato, MD


Jay Brenner, MD
Thomas Curran, Jr., MD
James Dwyer, PhD
Gregory Eastwood, MD
K. Faber-Langendoen, MD
Robert Olick, JD, PhD

Lazarus Gehring, MD
Roy Gill, MD
Leann Lesperance, MD, PhD, FAAP
Lisa Newman, DO
Marita Powell, MD
Domenico Prato, MD


This course in Clinical Bioethics and Communications is comprised of twelve 1.5 hour sessions in Clinical Bioethics. The Clinical Bioethics sessions are conducted as seminars in small groups, at 2-5 week intervals. Individual group assignments and schedules are posted on Blackboard. At the beginning of each session, your instructor will ask you to discuss ethical aspects of your recent clinical experience. Then the group will focus on the topic for the session.

Time: Tuesdays, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

This course supports the following Medical Program Objectives of the College of Medicine.

Clerkship 1 - Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Clerkship-Communicate effectively and establish rapport with individual patients with diverse backgrounds.

Clinical Bioethics-Analyze the contribution of cultural, religious, and personal beliefs/practices on both the patient's health and the doctor-patient relationship.

CS 3 - Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Clerkship-Provide information to, and practice shared decision-making and behavioral change techniques with patients and families.

Clinical Bioethics-1) Analyze/debate policies on advance directives, surrogate decision-making, the NY Family Health Decisions Act. 2) Evaluate the relationship between patient autonomy and informed decision-making.

PR 1 - Professionalism

Clerkship-Demonstrate ethical and professional behaviors and choices in all roles and settings as a medical student.

Clinical Bioethics-1) Discuss the association between student professionalism and the primacy of the patient's welfare. 2) Describe the professional obligation to maintain patient trust by managing conflicts of interest.

PR 3 - Professionalism

Clerkship-Demonstrate an understanding of the obligations of the profession to the community and society.

Clinical Bioethics-1) Describe the professional obligation individual physicians have to society. 2) Evaluate the benefits/limits of altruism in healthcare.

LI 1 - Practice-based Learning and Improvement

Clerkship-Engage in reflective practice as an intentional learner through acceptance and incorporation of feedback and commitment to personal improvement goals.

Clinical Bioethics-1) Create and implement a plan to resolve an ethically problematic situation students have encountered during their clinical rotations. 2) Reflect on the ethical resolution plan in small group discussion and in a paper.

PH 1 - Systems Based Practice and Population Health

Clerkship-Describe the structure, delivery and finance of major health care systems.

Clinical Bioethics-Analyze/debate whether access to basic healthcare should be a privilege or right for all citizens.

  1. The patient first: the clinical experience and respecting patients while learning on them
  2. Telling the truth and keeping secrets
  3. Cultural, religious, and personal practices
  4. Advance directives, surrogate decision-making, and the NY Family Health Care Decision Act
  5. Speaking up
  6. Futility, palliative care, and physician-assisted suicide
  7. The limits of altruism: difficult patients and professional conscience
  8. Basic healthcare - right or privilege?
  9. Discussion of speaking up papers
  10. Death and dying
  11. Self-regulation of the profession
  12. The good physician

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