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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Thomas R. Mc Cormick
MHE 511
Seattle Campus

P-Medical Ethics

Ethics course designed especially for first-and second-year medical students. Study of ethical problems arising in clinical setting of medicine, introducing students to philosophical analysis and argument in practical contexts. Seminar-discussion format with readings from contemporary authors. Credit/no credit only.

Class description

This course is designed to examine ethical issues from a case-based approach and to encourage discussion of the issues and perspectives among the participants. An interesting feature of this seminar approach is the opportunity to hear how prominent values and loyalties of colleagues contribute to ethical decision-making. Four guest speakers will share ethical issues from their professional contexts during this quarter. Dr. Diane Timberlake-Fam. Med;, Dr. Rob Landerholm-Surg.with Dr. Debbie Sciscoe-Ob-Gyn; and Chaplain Jim Spraker.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The purpose of this course is to introduce first and second year medical students to the basic language, concepts and principles of medical ethics. The approach taken is a case-study method, designed to help students develop skills in the analysis of case problems in clinical medicine. Students will find this course particularly useful in preparing them for ethics research related to future cases they will encounter in Problem Based Learning (PBL) & in the clinical clerkships. The course is two (2) credits, and will meet from 10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. on Wednesdays in Room T-747. There will be no final exam, however, students will be required to turn in a two-three page "case write-up" in which a case is described, briefly analyzed, concluding with the student's suggested resolution as a demonstration of his/her competence in using the skills learned in this course. Alternatively, some students may prefer to make an oral presentation of their case in class during one of our sessions later in the quarter. A model approach for either oral or written cases will be presented in class, using the “4 boxes” paradigm described under “tools” on the bioethics website, and in Clinical Ethics.

Recommended preparation

This course is designed for first and second-year medical students.

Class assignments and grading

There will be no final exam, however, students will be required to turn in a two-three page "case write-up" in which a case is described, briefly analyzed, concluding with the student's suggested resolution as a demonstration of his/her competence in using the skills learned in this course. Alternatively, some students may prefer to make an oral presentation of their case in class during one of our sessions later in the quarter. A model approach for either oral or written cases will be presented in class, using the “4 boxes” paradigm described under “tools” on the bioethics website, and in Clinical Ethics.

There will be no final exam, however, students will be required to turn in a two-three page "case write-up" in which a case is described, briefly analyzed, concluding with the student's suggested resolution as a demonstration of his/her competence in using the skills learned in this course. Alternatively, some students may prefer to make an oral presentation of their case in class during one of our sessions later in the quarter. A model approach for either oral or written cases will be presented in class, using the “4 boxes” paradigm described under “tools” on the bioethics website, and in Clinical Ethics.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Course Web Site:
Last Update by Amber L Curtis
Date: 06/12/2003