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Department of Medical Humanities


medical humanities newsletter
The Bioethics Center, University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina
Department of Medical Humanities, The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
From the Department: Chairs' Ethics Rounds: Five New Residency Programs
Loretta M. Kopelman, Ph.D.

In July of 2002, five clinical chairs at the Brody School of Medicine, together with five members of the Department of Medical Humanities, launched new and comprehensive programs for integrating the teaching of moral, social and legal issues into their respective residency curricula. These programs are called “Chair’s Rounds,” clinical chairs meet with their respective residents as a group and a member of the Department of Medical Humanities to discuss a case and its relevant moral, legal and social issues. The following chart lists the names of the participating chairs and their department, the member of the Department of Medical Humanities working with them, the manner of selecting cases, and how it has been worked into the curriculum. We have been very pleased with the first six months of this program. Attendance has been very good, with faculty as well as a large percentage of the respective residents attending. Evaluations show that the programs are being well received.

One reason the program has run smoothly, I believe, is that all but one of these five clinical chairs has already devoted a considerable amount of time team-teaching in foundational courses in the first and second year of medical school, called “Moral and Social Issues In Medicine.” Moreover, many of the residency course directors have also team-taught with us in these courses. Thus, they are very familiar with the basic readings in medical ethics and with the methods of practical reasoning we use to address moral and social problems.

Clinical Chair
Case Selection
Mode of
Emergency Medicine Nicholas Benson, M.D. John Moskop, Ph.D. Cases selected by Dr. Benson from suggestions by residents. Meets monthly for one hour at 1:00 pm
Family Medicine Dean Patton, M.D. David Resnik, J.D., Ph.D. Cases selected by residents or faculty from current cases. Meets monthly for one hour during morning report.
Internal Medicine Ralph Whatley, M.D. Kenneth De Ville, Ph.D., J.D. Case selected by residents who have a rotation schedule. Meets monthly for one hour during morning report.
OB/GYN Edward Newton, M.D. John Davis, J.D., Ph.D. Cases usually selected by faculty. Meet twice a month for one half hour at 12:30 pm.
Pediatrics Ronald Perkin, M.D. Loretta Kopelman, Ph.D. Case selected by residents who have a rotation schedule. Meets monthly for one hour during morning report.

Chairs’ Ethics Rounds is a new program, but it does not replace other teaching done in graduate medical education. These include Grand Rounds and teaching of fellows in Family Medicine, such as that done by Todd Savitt, Ph.D. from our Department of Medical Humanities.

The Chairs’ Ethics Rounds is subtitled an “Ethics Education Program for Residents.” It more than fulfills the requirements for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which calls for residency programs to provide regular and systematic review of ethical, medical, legal, social, and economic and cost containment issues. Although the ACGME offers a list of topics to be covered, the council offers no explicit criteria for residency education, permitting individual residency programs to determine the content and format of the ethics education that they provide. The Chairs’ Ethics Rounds is a good way to fulfill the ACGME requirements, and one of the ways the Department of Medical Humanities incorporates the teaching of moral, legal and social issues into graduate medical education.