Certificate Program in Pediatric Bioethics As a core faculty member in the Children's Mercy Bioethics Center, I have helped create, design, manage, and revise our nine-month certificate program in pediatric bioethics. This program, begun in fall of 2011, is the only one of its kind in the world, providing systematic training focused exclusively on pediatric bioethics to working pediatric health professionals from around the world.
My primary roles within the program include coordinating and directing student research projects, mentoring students, offering on-site lectures, and leading on-line discussions during multiple weeks of the program. The topics in weeks where I lead discussions include:
The Best-Interest Standard
The Harm Principle and the Child's Right to an Open Future
Moral Conscience and Moral Distress
Justice and Healthcare Allocation
Pediatric Research Ethics
Pediatric Genetics and Newborn Screening
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY
PHILOS 451/5550 History and Philosophy of Bioethics This is an upper-level undergraduate and graduate-level course exploring the historical, methodological, and philosophical foundations of bioethics.
The first section of the course focuses on ethical theory and the foundations of medical ethics more generally, with a focus on consequentialist and deontological approaches to moral reasoning, and on whether or not medicine has an "end" that defines internal ethical standards for its practice or if it instead derives standards from general ethical frameworks.
The second section of the course takes up an extended analysis of the core values and principles that dominate contemporary thinking about medical ethics, including beneficence/non-maleficence, respect for autonomy, justice, veracity, fidelity, and the avoidance of killing.
The third and final section of the course considers the historical and philosophical shift from medical ethics to bioethics more widely. Here classic works in philosophical applied ethics are carefully analyzed and evaluated, both independently in terms of their arguments but also as a set with attention given to the common features that have contributed to them becoming classics in the field. This is followed by a concluding consideration of the nature, purpose, and limits of bioethics as a practice and a form of inquiry.
PHILOS 452/5551 Healthcare Law and Policy This is an upper-level undergraduate and graduate-level course exploring the legal and policy dimensions of bioethics.
The first section of the course explores the ethical and legal foundations of bioethics, introducing foundational terms, concepts, and frameworks in ethical theory and American jurisprudence.
The second section of the course examines larger legal and policy issues that underlie bioethics, including justice and the right to healthcare, professional obligations to treat patients in need, autonomy and the need for informed consent and the right of patients to informed refusal of care, patient privacy and confidentiality, and the need for cultural competency/humility in providing care to a diverse range of patients,
The third and final section of the course considers specific domains and issues within medicine where ethical, legal, and policy controversies have arisen. These include human reproduction, mental illness and the competency and capacity of patients to make medical decisions, medical research, organ transplantation, and competing definitions of death.
PHILOS 453/5552 Clinical Ethics and Case Consultation This is an upper-level undergraduate and graduate-level course exploring the practice of clinical medical ethics with a focus on the skills involved in providing case consultation within health care institutions. I am currently revising this course in substantial ways and will update the course description upon completion. PHILOS 333 Social and Political Philosophy This is an upper-level undergraduate course exploring the fundamental values and principles that should guide social and political organization.
The first section of the course inquires into what human life might be like if there were no government or political organization (in a so-called state of nature). Here competing ideas of human nature and sociability are explored using classic readings from Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and their critics.
The second section of the course examines the source, purposes, and limits of political authority. The focus here concerns whether and to what extent government can be justified and the basis upon which it legitimately can command our obedience.
The third section of the course critically examines two important moral/social values underlying social and political life – namely, the values of liberty and justice. Here particular attention is given to debates about economic justice and the distribution of property, including the important question of how a political economy should be organized.
The fourth and concluding section of the course explores important feminist critiques of traditional social and political philosophy. Here the work of both liberal and radical feminists is used to engage with and challenge the assumptions, conclusions, and methods utilized in the first three sections of the course.
KANSAS CITY UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE AND BIOSCIENCES
BETH 501 History and Methodology for Bioethics This is a graduate-level course exploring the historical, methodological, and philosophical foundations of bioethics.
The first section of the course explores ethical theory more broadly, including analyzing, evaluating, and applying theories of ethics such as divine command theory, cultural relativism, consequentialism, deontology, principlism, virtue ethics, care ethics, and narrative ethics.
The second section of the course examines the historical and philosophical foundations of medicine as a professional practice. It begins with an exploration of the history of Western medicine and the evolution of fundamental concepts like health, disease, and illness before moving to contemporary philosophy of medicine. Considerable attention is given here to the social construction of health, disease, and illness and the ways in which features of human life become medicalized and de-medicalized.
The third and final section of the course considers the historical and philosophical foundations of medical ethics and bioethics, including whether or not medicine has an "end" that defines internal ethical standards for its practice, the concepts of professionalism and inter-professionalism, and the nature, roles, and obligations of both clinicians and bioethicists.
BETH 504 Culture, Diversity, and Bioethics This is an intensive, hybrid, graduate-level course exploring the nature, role, and implications of human and cultural variation in medicine and health.
The first section of the course, conducted using independent reading and on-line discussion, uses contemporary literature to explore two types of encounters between Western medicine and non-Western cultures. The first type of encounter, illustrated in Anne Fadimon's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, is one where non-Western cultures (in this case, Hmong refugees living in central California) seek care within a thoroughly Western society and medical culture. The second type of encounter, illustrated in Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World, is one where a clinician trained at the world's most elite medical institutions leaves the Western framework to practice in resource-limited settings (in this case, Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and within the Russian prison system) with fundamentally different worldviews and cultural frameworks. Certain common themes emerge in both encounters (e.g., power and vulnerability, the struggle to communicate, translate, and build trust across linguistic and cultural differences, the challenges of poverty and the impacts of the social determinants of health, etc.), but also vast differences in health outcomes and patient satisfaction that arguably stem from different orientations taken toward non-Western peoples by the relevant Western clinicians.
The second section of the course, conducted in intensive day-long sessions in the classroom, explores the central ways in which culture and power are intertwined in the medical context. This section begins by exploring the ways in which Western medicine itself is a culture with inherent biases and ideological blind-spots that get instilled and reinforced at every level of medical education and practice. It examines how sex and gender, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic disparities, and disability status impact the ability of clinicians immersed in American medical culture to provide competent and compassionate care to all patients.