Required Courses

The McGovern Center coordinates four required courses—three for the Medical School and another for Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Compassionate Care Curriculum (formerly known as the Health and Human Spirit Program)

The Compassionate Care Program is a unique teaching module incorporated into required third-year clinical rotations. The program enlists case studies, videotaped exams of standardized patients, role-playing activities, individual and group reflection activities, and other innovative teaching techniques to help students appreciate the many cultural, spiritual, and ethical dimensions embedded in each patient encounter.

Introduction to Ethics and Professionalism in Medicine

Ethics and professionalism are woven into the entire four-year medical school curriculum, but in this required second-year course, students are exposed to these principles in a more systematic and formal manner. Through a combination of large group lectures and small discussion groups, students are introduced to the basic definitions and concepts of clinical medical ethics and professionalism, and are taught how to apply these basic concepts to clinical cases.

Topics include the role of the physician in the 21st century, patient autonomy, beneficence, the right to die, organ donation, and the health care system. The course also provides students with a foundation in ethics and professionalism that will serve students through their clinical rotations into their residencies.

Medical Jurisprudence

Medical Jurisprudence introduces medical students to the legal system and concepts of law that they will encounter in their clinical practices. Students discover how the law composes answers to new problems, and learn to identify legal issues as they arise in the course of medical practice. They will also learn how the law addresses issues of informed consent, confidentiality, required reporting, state and federal approaches to legal precedent, end-of-life issues, and negligence. This course is taught during the fourth-year of medical school and builds on concepts of ethics and professionalism learned during the first three years.

Ethical Dimensions of the Biomedical Sciences

Housed in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, this course provides students with a framework to recognize, examine, and resolve ethical conflicts in their professional lives. Upon completion, students will be able to identify and critique the historical roots of ethical commitments in science, trace the historical developments on contemporary issues in scientific research, identify professional and legal guidelines on the ethical issues, formulate recommendations for preventing and resolving ethical conflicts, and identify appropriate institutional resources for addressing ethical concerns in research and graduate education.