Catholic HCE Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Academic Courses

HCE 742: Multicultural Society and Healthcare Ethics
Offered Fall only, odd years by Dr. Joris Gielen

In this course, we analyze the challenges that contemporary multicultural society poses to healthcare ethics. In the first part, we will describe these challenges and determine how they challenge normative healthcare ethics and clinical ethical practice. In the second part, we assess ways to overcome them in the field of normative ethical discussions from a Roman Catholic perspective. In the third part, we search for models and ways to deal with the challenges in clinical practice through organizational changes and instilling of cultural competence. This is connected with the idea of mission and identity.

HCE 743: Ethics of Care
Offered Spring only, odd years by Dr. Joris Gielen

In this course, we study the relevance of care ethics to bioethics and Roman Catholic bioethics in particular. Principlism's very strong influence on bioethics in the Anglo-Saxon world should not make us lose sight of other ethical theories that are conducive to bioethics. Care Ethics presents itself as a promising alternative theory. Throughout this course students learn to analyze bioethical issues using a care ethics approach. In the first part of the course, the students are made familiar with the foundations and particular approach of Care Ethics. In the second part, we assess to what extent Personalism can enhance a Care Ethics approach. In the third part, an approach that combines Care Ethics with Personalism is applied to care for the elderly.

HCE 745: Comparative Religious Bioethics
Offered Fall only, even years by Dr. Joris Gielen

Empirical studies have shown that attitudes to bioethical issues are often influenced by religion. Moreover, in the past few decades, religious authorities have expressed outspoken opinions on bioethical issues not only in Christianity, but in other religions too. However, there are substantial differences between religions in the ways in which bioethical arguments are constructed. Insight in this religious diversity is important to understand the bioethical attitudes of people belonging to religious minorities (e.g. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims) who work or receive treatment in Catholic healthcare institutions. In the first part of the course, students become aware of the existence of deep structural differences between the Roman Catholic tradition and non-Christian religions in their development of bioethics. In the second part, the differences are further explored through the study of (non-Christian) religious answers to a concrete ethical issue at the end of life. In the third part, the observations from the previous parts are applied to assess whether and how these answers differ from Roman Catholic answers.

HCE 748: Clinical Ethics
Offered Spring only, even years by Dr. Joris Gielen

In this course, students will be trained in case analysis, scientific presentation and reporting in the field of clinical ethics. The course consists of three parts. In the first part, we undertake a general exploration of the aims of clinical ethics and the place of clinical ethics consultations therein. We study the position of Roman Catholic bioethics towards clinical ethical issues. In the second part, we look at approaches to ethical analysis in case consultation. The students gain insight into the merits of these approaches and learn to apply them to clinical cases. In the third part, we focus on an issue that is central in clinical ethics: decision making. We study the standard of informed consent, and decision making for mentally incapacitated patients and patients who are unable to communicate. We study ways to resolve conflict when decisions by patients or their surrogates do not align with the mission and identity of Roman Catholic healthcare organizations.

HCE 750: Beginning of Life Ethics
Offered Spring only, even years by Fr./Dr. Peter Osuji

This course will familiarize students to the ethics of reproductive medicine and beginning-of-life issues such as contraception, male womb, surrogacy/outsourcing parenting, artificial reproductive technologies, human cloning, animal-human hybrids, morality of abortion, the moral status of the human embryo, and fetal tissue transplants. The course will look at the various ethical controversies surrounding the definitions of life and of humanity, procreative rights.

HCE 753: Genetics and Ethics
Offered Spring only, even years by Dr. Gerard Magill

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. Specifically, for the Catholic Program, the Research Projects and the Research Essay in the course will deal with topics related to Catholic health care.

HCE 754: Research Ethics
Offered Fall only, odd years by Dr. Joris Gielen

The course will familiarize students with the recent issues and debates in research ethics. It will start with an introduction in empirical research in bioethics. This empirical basis will serve as an example from which research ethics will be explored. The course 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 755: Global Bioethics
Offered Fall only, even years by Fr./Dr. Peter Osuji

The Catholic tradition has always had a global perspective. The ethical teaching however, though universal, has not necessarily been global. The recent turn of bioethics into global bioethics is nowadays supported and promoted by the Catholic Church. Laudato Si (2015) is an excellent example of the global bioethical discourse.
The course will make students familiar with the recent issues and debates in global bioethics. It will explain basic notions of global bioethics, as identified in the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, unanimously adopted by the 193 Members States of UNESCO in 2005. The focus will be on universal principles such as human dignity and human rights, respect for human vulnerability and personal integrity, respect for cultural diversity and pluralism, solidarity and cooperation, social responsibility and health, sharing of benefits, protecting future generations, and protection of the environment, the biosphere and biodiversity. The course will also study the applications of the fundamental principles in various settings around the world.

HCE 756: End of Life Ethics
Offered Spring only, odd years by Dr. Joris Gielen

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 758: Intensive Research in Healthcare Ethics
Offered Summer only by Dr. Gerard Magill

The course offers an opportunity for students to investigate intensive research topics in healthcare ethics related to their anticipated DHCE Project or PhD Dissertation. The course will guide students from their broad interest in general doctoral topics to the development of a focused research thesis, investigating relevant arguments and literature to support the main components of their subsequent doctoral writing. Specifically, for the Catholic Program, the Research Thesis and the Research Essay will deal with topics related to Catholic health care.

HCE 759: Methods in Healthcare Ethics
Offered Fall only by Dr. Gerard Magill

This course provides a foundational introduction to other degree courses in the healthcare ethics curriculum. The course presents a 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. Specifically, for the Catholic Program, the Research Projects and the Research Essay in the course will deal with topics related to Catholic health care.

HCE 760: Research Writing in Healthcare Ethics
Offered Summer only by Dr. Gerard Magill

The course will train HCE students in high quality research writing that occurs in the DHCE Project and PhD Dissertation (both are included by using the word "dissertation" in the Course Syllabus). A variety of techniques will be explored to integrate the related components of research and writing in the chapters of the dissertation. This course explains the progress that is required as students move from their semester course essays to writing the chapters of their dissertation. Specifically, for the Catholic Program, the Research Essay will deal with topics related to Catholic health care.

HCE 762: Organizational Ethics in Health Care
Offered Spring only, odd years by Dr. Gerard Magill

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. Specifically, for the Catholic Program, the Research Projects and the Research Essay in the course will deal with topics related to Catholic health care.

HCE 790: Independent Study
Offered Spring and Fall by Faculty

This course provides an opportunity to do independent reading and research under the supervision of a faculty member with approval of the Director.

HCE 701: Dissertation Hours
Offered Spring and Fall by Faculty

Clinical Ethics Rotations

Please visit our updated Clinical Ethics Rotations page for course descriptions & syllabi.