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Healthcare Ethics Course Descriptions

Academic Courses

HCE-645, Comparative Religious Bioethics

This course follows a seminar format which after an introductory lecture in the first session devotes most of class time to presentations by students, group discussion and development of the research essay. Through their own research and the critical input of other students the students become aware of structural differences between religions in the field of bioethics. Moreover, the students become particularly familiar with bioethics in one religion (Hinduism, Buddhism or Islam).

HCE 653, Genetics and Ethics

The course discusses ethical issues related to emerging trends in human genetics and stem cell research. Topics include: the development of ethics discourse on the human genome; ethics and technology; Consent and Genetics Counseling; Stem Cell Research and Cloning; Germline Modification; Genetics, Disability, and the Vulnerable; Population Screening, including Newborns; Individuals Screening and Tests; Neuro-ethics and Nano-ethics; Patents, Biobanking, and Business.

HCE 654, Research Ethics

The course will make students familiar with the recent issues and debates in research ethics. It will start with the history of the debate on ethics and research (focusing on exemplary cases). It will analyze the various ethical dimensions of different types of research in the field of healthcare, in particular informed consent, risk-benefit assessment, ethical review, and research with special populations. It then offers the opportunity to study in more details subjects as international research, research with children, animal research, ethics review committees, and research integrity.

HCE 655, Global Bioethics

This course focuses on the globalization of bioethics. It addresses the question of universal ethical principles in connection to cultural diversity. Current problems will be discussed, e.g. international clinical trials, benefit sharing, organ trafficking, social responsibility for health, globalised food and culture.

HCE 656, End of Life Ethics

Ethical issues related to the end of life are the main focus of this course. Starting from an analysis of the major moral traditions (Hippocratic tradition, sanctity of life tradition and Enlightenment tradition) as well as the philosophical debate on the goals of health care, specific ethical problems will be analyzed: suffering, death and dying, futility of treatment, withholding and withdrawing treatment, artificial food and nutrition, palliative care, euthanasia, and compassion.

HCE 657, Public Health Ethics

Public health ethics is an underdeveloped area in healthcare ethics. It is, however, increasingly important with the rise of global bioethics. The course examines the public health perspective and the general principles and issues of public health ethics. It analyses ethical dimensions of health concepts, health promotion, prevention, epidemiology, immunization, screening and health policy. It will study significant cases related to drug use, health inequalities, coercion and infectious disease, the war on fat, bioterrorism, disasters, and humanitarian intervention.

HCE 659, Methods in Healthcare Ethics

This course provides a foundational introduction to other degree courses in the healthcare ethics curriculum. The course presents an historical and systematic analysis of theoretical approaches to healthcare ethics as well as a study of practical issues. A general ethical typology presents knowledge of the vocabulary and methods in the field. Practical issues are discussed to illustrate the theoretical questions.

HCE 662, Organizational Ethics in Healthcare

The course examines the role of organizational ethics in health care. Business ethics and corporate ethics (with accompanying topics of risk management, compliance, and quality improvement) are included within the description of organizational ethics. The analysis focuses on the integration of clinical, professional, and organizational ethics in health care to foster culturally competent patient-centered care. The study considers relevant standards in the field, such as the Joint Commission’s accreditation standards for hospitals. The concerns that are discussed vary from theoretical issues, relevant principles, and practical topics.

HCE 690, Independent Study

HCE 701, Dissertation Hours

Clinical Ethics Rotations

HCE 646, Clinical HCE I

This Clinical Ethics Rotation consists of supervised placement in a hospital with reading and discussion concerning clinical ethical issues. Students become familiar with the clinical environment and accompanying ethics issues and attend (without actively participating in) the Hospital Ethics Committee. The Rotation requires 150 hours of time. Admission only by prior arrangement with the HCE Director.

HCE 647, Clinical HCE II

HCE 646 is a pre-requisite for HCE 647. This Clinical Ethics Rotation consists of supervised placement in a hospital with reading and discussion concerning clinical ethical issues. A Mentored Apprenticeship occurs insofar as students shadow both ethics pre-consultations and ethics consultations and participate in the Hospital Ethics Committee. The Rotation requires 150 hours of time. Admission only by prior arrangement with the HCE Director.

HCE-647, Clinical HCE II (Advanced Standing)

HCE 646 is a pre-requisite for HCE 647. This Clinical Ethics Rotation consists of supervised placement in a hospital with reading and discussion concerning clinical ethical issues. A Mentored Apprenticeship occurs insofar as students shadow both ethics pre-consultations and ethics consultations and participate in the Hospital Ethics Committee. The Rotation requires 150 hours of time. Admission only by prior arrangement with the HCE Director.

HCE 681, Clinical Internship I

HCE 646 and HCE 647 are prerequisites for HCE 681. The Internship Rotation consists of a supervised clinical ethics rotation as ethicist-in-residence in a health care facility. Duties include: education of facility personnel through formal lectures, in-service workshops, teaching rounds, and ethics research; development of policy on various ethical issues; and prospective and retrospective case consultation. A Mentored Apprenticeship occurs insofar as students move from shadowing to participating in, and at times leading, ethics pre-consultations and ethics consultations as well as participating in the Hospital Ethics Committee. The Rotation requires 150 hours of time. Admission only by prior arrangement with the HCE Director.

HCE 682, Clinical Internship II

HCE 681 is a pre-requisite for HCE 682. The Internship Rotation consists of a supervised clinical ethics rotation as ethicist-in-residence in a health care facility. Duties include: education of facility personnel through formal lectures, in-service workshops, teaching rounds, and ethics research; development of policy on various ethical issues; and prospective and retrospective case consultation. A Mentored Apprenticeship occurs insofar as students move from shadowing to participating in, and at times leading, ethics pre-consultations and ethics consultations as well as participating in the Hospital Ethics Committee. The Rotation requires 150 hours of time. Admission only by prior arrangement with the HCE Director.

Other Courses Typically Adopted in the Healthcare Ethics Curriculum

HCE 542, Foundations of Moral Philosophy

There are many different ways of theorizing about moral philosophy and each has its advantages and disadvantages. This course evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of each of these systems of moral philosophy.

HCE 544, Foundations of Religious Healthcare Ethics

The course provides an introduction to the methods of religious discourse in health care ethics. There is discussion of different approaches, policies, teachings, and practices. And a variety of practical topics are engaged to illustrate the variety of religious discourse in the field.

HCE 652, Justice in Health Care Delivery

An examination of religious, philosophical, and policy perspectives on theoretical understandings of justice and on practical issues involving the allocation and delivery of health case, such as access to health care, health care reform, rationing, and managed care.

HCE 580, Healthcare Law & Ethics See, HLTM 577, Legal Issues in Health Care

This course educates students intending to embark on a health-care related career on a wide-range of legal issues in the context of the health care industry. Topics will include practitioner licensing, HIPAA, professional liability lawsuits, and a general overview of the court system. The course also covers current relevant issues before the courts, particularly with regard to Pennsylvania law, such as tort reform, peer review privilege, and arbitration agreements in healthcare-related cases.