Courses Offered in Past/Future Years


BIOE 5205

Institutional Policy Writing

Instructors: Lauren Flicker

Description:
In this intensive, students will learn about the ethical, legal, and administrative considerations that go into the writing of an institutional policy. Through lectures, readings, and discussions, the class will study the philosophical and historical backgrounds of policies, and analyze policies from hospitals across the country. In the last two days of class, students will break into small groups to develop their own policies; at the end of this period the class will come together as an ethics committee to debate the merits of each policy.

Prerequisites: Certificate program or instructor permission.

Credit:2



BIOE 5318

Dementia, Ethics and Health Policy

Instructors:Powell

Description:

The course will explore a range of ethical issues arising from dementia, including diagnosis, treatment, research, and health policies. The course begins by studying definitions of different types of dementia and related states, such as minimal cognitive impairment and cognitive aging. Topics include: neuropathology of dementia, as well as current trends – and failures -- in research for dementia treatments; factors that increase and decrease the probability of developing dementia, including through life-style choices; caregiver burdens and stressors; abuse, neglect and financial scams affecting those with cognitive impairment; safe driving and public health concerns; use of technology to support independent living; nursing home quality and functions; and end of life care for severe dementia. Though the course will address scientific topics, students need not have an extensive background in the sciences. For each topic, the class will identify and analyze related ethical challenges related to dementia.

Prerequisites: Certificate program or instructor permission.

Prerequisites:Certificate program or instructor permission.

Credit:2



BIOE 5310

Ethical Issues in Pediatrics

Instructors: Alan Fleischman

Description:

The course will focus on ethical issues as they relate to children. Beginning with an exploration of what it means to be a child in America and the unique kinship relationships and obligations engendered by the decision to have a child, the course will focus on ethical issues in labor, delivery, and neonatal care, current controversies in caring for a dying child and his family, ethical issues concerning adolescents, research ethics as it relates to children, and issues about surgical and medical enhancement of children. Students will be expected to read assigned materials and be prepared to discuss relevant ethical questions during each session. Each student will choose a relevant topic of interest and develop a 3000-5000 word essay that will describe the issue and elucidate the ethical concerns utilizing and citing peer-reviewed literature.

Prerequisites: Certificate program or instructor permission.

Credit: 2



BIOE 5307

Religion and Bioethics

Instructor: Powell

Description:

This course explores how religious beliefs and practices influence the delivery of health care, from the perspectives of both the patient and physician. We review various faith traditions, specifically looking at how issues such as end-of-life care, refusal of medical treatment, abortion, assisted reproduction and other medical decisions are shaped by different religious traditions. The course explores how religious doctrine impacts medical decision-making at the patient level, as well as how legal/ethical issues sometimes encroach on patient autonomy (especially in the case of minors). It also investigates the ethical obligations of religious hospitals and the larger health care system in addressing issues of faith for patients and/or providers. Finally, the course examines how physicians balance their professional obligations and religious beliefs, by investigating, among other examples, whether it is appropriate for doctors to join with patients and/or their families in prayer.

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

Credit: 2



BIOE 5325

Bioethics and the Social Determinants of Health

Instructor: Flicker

Description:

This course explores the ethical implications of the normative assumptions for definitions of health in society through an introduction and exploration of the social determinants of health. Beginning with an introduction of the history of oppression and an introduction to the Social Ecological Model, the ethical considerations of the social determinants of health will be explored through examining resources across four broad components of the Social Determinants of Health (1) General, (2) Living and Working Conditions, (3) Social/Community Networks and (4) Individual & Lifestyle Factors, and their impact across populations.

Prerequisites: Certificate program or instructor permission.

Credit: 2



BIOE 5327

Bioethics in Contemporary Media

Instructors:Spencer

Description:

At a 2010 meeting of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, commission member David Rejeski spoke about synthetic biology and the role of popular media. Citing Captain Marvel, Spiderman, Xbox game Bioshock, Michael Crichton’s novel Prey, and the movie Splice, he argued forcefully that “people will fall back on these narratives long before they will ever pick up a biology book. And they are incredibly pervasive, ubiquitous and powerful.” In order to better understand how these narratives engage with bioethical issues, in this course we will hone our skills of media analysis with a range of contemporary sources. In the first half of the course we will study themes such as artificial intelligence, disability studies, racial justice, and gender equity through a selection of material, primarily contemporary film. The second half of the semester will be student-selected; as a group, we will plan the material following the themes of the course and student interest, including new releases of television and film. From Frankenstein to X-Men; from Black Panther to The Handmaid’s Tale, we will look towards contemporary media in order to better understand how it reflects and informs contemporary issues in bioethics and society at large.

Prerequisites:Certicate program or instructor permission.

Credit:2



BIOE 5306

Pharmaceutical Ethics

Instructors:Elizabeth Kitsis

Description:

The pharmaceutical industry is under intense scrutiny by medical journals, regulators, and the lay public. Yet drug companies have translated scientific discoveries into products that have improved and extended the lives of millions of people. This course will familiarize students with the drug development process, and examine the factors that have contributed to the commercial successes and failures of drug companies. With this information as a backdrop, the course will then focus on the multiple ethical issues that arise in commercial drug development, including the promotion of unapproved uses of drugs, ghostwriting, the medicalization of conditions to expand markets, and conflicts of interest.

Prerequisites: Certificate program or instructor permission.

Credit: 2



BIOE 5308

Empathy in Theory and Practice

Instructors: TBA

Description:

The goal of this course is to investigate the meaning of empathy and its application in the medical field and care work more generally. We will be exploring the concept of empathy through philosophy, psychology, neuroscience and cognitive science. We will cover the genealogical development of the concept with an eye towards understanding and problematizing its increasing popularity in the applied sciences, social sciences, and in the field of medicine.

Prerequisites:None.

Credit: 2



BIOE 5312

Medical Narratives

Instructors:Spencer

Description:

Narratives about illness, disability and caregiving have emerged as a significant genre since the late 20thcentury. Literary, filmic and theatrical memoirs by patients and clinicians about personal experiences join anecdotal accounts in bioethics and public health. What is the historical context for such narratives, and how have they developed in recent years? How does the evolution of the genre reflect and inform the practice of healthcare and its social context? How do different narrative perspectives deepen our understanding of bioethics? This seminar will explore the breadth of works in this field, including first-person accounts by clinicians and patients, as well as critical essays about the role and status of memoir and narrative. We will investigate the relationship between these works and notions of autonomy, empathy and intersubjectivity. Some seminars will feature presentations and discussion with writers, artists and clinicians who will enrich our understanding of medical narratives.

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

Credit: 2



BIOE 5313

Public Health Ethics

Instructors: TBA

Description:

This course explores the many respects in which public health actions and policies have ethical dimensions. The course addresses topics in both public health practice and public health research. Topics in public health practice include an exploration of governmental paternalism and when is justified, such as laws mandating the use of seatbelts and motorcycle helmets; justifications for limiting individual liberty that arise in infectious disease practices like isolation, quarantine, and directly observed therapy; ethical problems in allocating limited resources in outbreaks or epidemics; controversies over various efforts at health promotion, such as prohibiting smoking in parks and other outdoor sites, and limiting the size of sugary soft drinks; and the role of federal regulatory agencies in protecting the health of the public. Topics in public health research include distinguishing between public health research and public health practice; when it is necessary to obtain informed consent and when it is not; ethical issues in conducting research in disasters and emergencies; when privacy and confidentiality may be breached in the interest of public health. Readings will be assigned in two categories: required and recommended. The format is interactive, seminar style, and includes cases and exercises for discussion in class. Students are expected to do all of the required readings and encouraged to do at least some of the recommended readings. Students are expected to contribute to class discussion based on the readings.

Prerequisites:Certficate program or instructor permission.

Credit:2



BIOE 5303

Gender, Sexual Orientation, Law and Medicine

Instructors:Ed Stein and Tia Powell

Description:

This course looks at sexual orientation and gender through a broad array of lenses, including legal and medical texts and fiction. We will address the ways that understanding of these issues has evolved over time and across cultures. The class will consider the role and changing nature of medical views of these issues as well as constitutional and statutory matters.

Prerequisites:Certificate program or instructor permission

Credit:2



BIOE 5314

Ways of Seeing: Healthcare and Ethics

Instructor:Spencer

Description:

The course will use visuality as a theme to explore embodiment, power and perspective in medical practice. We will study different models of vision from ancient thought through the enlightenment and up to the present. We will also read works on the role of sight in medical practice; the evolution of contemporary imaging techniques, and memoirs about the experience of vision loss. In addition, we will conduct “field observations” in clinical settings, investigating the role of vision as it exemplifies relations of power and knowledge. We will thus use vision as a lens ---both literal and figurative --- to explore social relations and medical ethics.

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

Credit: 2



BIOE 5316

Brave New World: Bioethics in Literature and Film

Instructor:Spencer

Description:

What do Chekhov and Dr. House have in common? Why did Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World so uncannily anticipate the dilemmas of our era? What can we learn from the way certain stories have been told and re-told over time? How have our cultural views of genetic engineering, social conditioning, organ transplantation, plague and contagion, fetal research and utilitarian ethics changed — or have they? From 1930s cinema to Gattaca, from Tom Hanks in Philadelphia to documentary reportage, from Margaret Atwood to tales of contemporary transnational surrogacy, from Tolstoy to E.R., from zombies to Artificial Intelligence — in this seminar we will investigate bioethics in literature, film and television, with reference to critical essays and with an emphasis on dynamic classroom discussion and debate.

Prerequisites: Certificate program or instructor permission

Credit: 2



BIOE 5317

Organ Transplantation

Instructor:David Hoffman

Description:

Like most advances in medical technology the advent of organ transplantation has produced both anticipated, and unanticipated, benefits and dilemmas. This course will explore the clinical and ethical history of organ donation and transplantation, as well as the ethical challenges society will face as we contemplate ways to expand the availability of transplantable organs. Topics will include: the relevance of death; appropriate criteria for determining death, the importance of respecting the decisions of donors for donation after death, the moral justification for the presumption against donation and the risk of reversing that presumption, and scientific alternatives to transplantation, among other topics. While this will not be a course on the law of organ transplantation, we will cover the federal acts that created the US transplant system and the regulation of the regional Organ Procurement Organizations (OPO) and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Readings will include scholarly papers from the bioethics and medical literature, American and international practice standards and regulations, codes of ethics for organ and tissue transplantation, narrative accounts of the experiences of individual donors and recipients, and reports in the lay press that describe and define public perceptions of the transplant system. Classes will be conducted utilizing the Socratic method. Grading will be based on class participation, including role-play exercises, and a paper on the ethical future of the transplant industry.

Prerequisites: Certificate program or instructor permission

Credit: 2



BIOE 5321

Care of those with Diminished Decision-Making Capacity

Instructor:David Hoffman

Description:

The course will focus on the clinical, legal and ethical implications of treating patients who fall between the polls of full autonomous decision-making capacity and those who lack any decision-making capacity at all. We will explore the clinical implications of partially capacitated patients in separate diagnostic and therapeutic settings. We will separately examine patients whose decisional capacity is compromised by mental illness, intellectual disability, age-related dementia, transient disease triggered impairment, latrogenic injury and infancy. The class is designed to develop ethical consultation skills for students with either legal or clinical professional experience or interests. Readings will be drawn from court decisions, legislative and regulatory guidance, professional ethical codes, scholarly literature in law, and ethics and medicine (including neuro-science and moral philosophy.) Students will engage in role-playing exercises in and out of class, and will be expected to make at least one case presentation during class.

Prerequisites: Certificate program or instructor permission

Credit: 2



BIOE 5323

Feminist Bioethics

Instructor:TBA

Description:

This course will examine various feminist critiques of mainstream bioethics and explore the growth of feminist bioethics as its own distinct sub-field. We will work through feminist conceptions of autonomy and personhood, and discuss how those conceptions affect decision making with respect to medical interventions. We will focus upon ethical questions and cases that highlight feminist concerns about reproductive choice, reproductive technology, dependency and disability, gender and sex, and power imbalances. Lastly, we will explore global responsibility toward the provision of healthcare. Students will be evaluated based upon their level or participation in class discussions and upon reflective written work.

Prerequisites: Certificate program or instructor permission

Credit: 2



BIOE 5302

Ethical Issues in HIV Testing, Treatment and Research

Instructor:Cowan

Description:

This seminar examines ethical controversies surrounding the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the early twenty-first century. It covers both domestic and international issues. The seminar is divided into several parts. Part I, HIV Testing, covers the controversies surrounding HIV testing and the evolution of HIV testing models from Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) to the current recommendations for opt-out provider-initiated testing. Part II, HIV Treatment, provides an introduction to human rights discourse as it relates to access to HIV treatment. The first session of Part II will cover general topics of human rights and HIV treatment. The second session will focus on global inequalities in HIV treatment. Part III, HIV research, will focus on ethical considerations surrounding HIV research in developing nations. The second session will focus on unique ethical issues with HIV prevention research. Class sessions are scheduled for two hours. All courses will be taught in seminar fashion. The majority of the class will be dedicated to analysis and discussion of the readings and case studies pertinent to the topic being covered.

Credit: 2


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