Practica offer students the opportunity to put into practice what they learn
in their theory courses.Taught workshop-style, practica involve students in the
analysis of cases in clinical ethics, research ethics and health policy. The
practica provide students with experience in dealing with scores of case studies.
By writing-up cases under the experienced supervision of experts students expand
their knowledge and hone their skills.
Cases and exercises are not chosen at random. Our practica are designed to train
students in “core competencies,” i.e. the knowledge and skills central
developing expertise in a given area of bioethics. In clinical ethics, these
core competencies were first delineated in 1998 by the national bioethics society,
the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities - www.ASBH.org > in
collaboration with its Canadian counterpart - www.bioethics.ca >.
Together they developed a comprehensive overview of core competencies essential
for clinical consultation - www.asbh.org-core >,
i.e., a knowledge base and skill set essential for every professional bioethicist
engaged in clinical ethics consultation. With the support of a Fogarty Training Grant from
the National Institutes of Health, The Bioethics Program has developed a comparable
overview of core competencies in research ethics - researchethicseurope.com >.
Our current practica are designed to train students in the core competencies
in either clinical or research ethics.
In addition to the online practica, students participate in a
week long, on-site practicum at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New
York City. Some skills simply cannot be practiced in an online course, and the on-site practica helps
students further the development of competencies and skills by providing
additional intensive and vivid experiences in the context of a major medical and research
center. Students also practice their competencies in clinical ethics and research
ethics through interactions with trained actors (“standardized patients”)
in standardized research and clinical ethics scenarios at Mount Sinai’s
renowned Morchand Center for Clinical Competence - www.mssm.edu-morchand >.
After working through a scenario, students receive immediate feedback on their
performance in these standardized encounters from the trained actors and a videotape
of the interactions is later reviewed and critiqued with the bioethics faculty.