NYMC > School of Medicine (SOM) > SOM Academics > Biomedical Ethics and Humanities Program > Course Descriptions

Biomedical Ethics and Humanities Course Descriptions

Core Requirements

* Students in the Master of Science degree must take all three courses.  Students pursuing the Graduate Certificate may choose 2 of the 3 courses.

Theories and Practice in Biomedical Ethics (3 credits)

This course will introduce students to the moral theories/ethical frameworks used in biomedical ethics as well as various topics related to the ethical implications of biotechnology and health care. In contrasting different methods of decision-making, the course will provide tools to answer the question of how decisions actually are made.  It will give students theoretical and practical illustrations in order to prepare them to engage ethical deliberation and scholarly research related to biomedical ethics.

The Patient-Clinician Relationship (3 credits)

This course will introduce students to different models of the patient-clinician relationship, both in the ideal as well as models that do not reflect the highest values of care. By contrasting different manifestations of the patient-clinician relationship, this course will provide tools to answer the question of how relationships are actually made and how they can be improved. 

Ethical Leadership and the Business of Healthcare (3 credits)

This course will introduce students to the legal and ethical issues that are involved in the management, leadership, and organizational success of today’s health care organizations.  Students will explore the application of ethics and legal thinking to health care concerns encountered by health care administrators, policy makers, and clinicians.  Emphasis will be on critical thinking, real-world application, and decision-making in a professional environment.

 

Sample Elective Courses

Health Care Ethics & Health Law (3 credits)

The course will introduce students to the basic principles in health care ethics as well as how the ethics of various health professions is grounded in the law.  Emphasis is placed on how law and ethics influence both the practice of healthcare and each other.  Students will examine clinical case studies as well as broader public topics to learn to identify and respond to legal and ethical issues.

Pharmaceutical Ethics (3 credits)

This course will examine the reasons for the development of the FDA, the approval process of drugs, and the impact of pharmaceuticals on society. It will also introduce students to historical examples of unethical treatment of patients that were used as a way to advance medical science and drug development. Students will also gain an appreciation for the economics of drug pricing, the communication of policies mandated by the government, major pharmaceutical litigations, the role of Wall Street and the financial markets in funding new therapies, and the current and historic work of the NIH as it pertains to the pharmaceutical industry. 

Philosophy of Medicine (3 credits)

This course will provide an overview of the philosophical foundations of two major perspectives on medicine and medical knowledge, namely, the biomedical model and the humanistic medical model. It will examine the metaphysical, epistemological, and axiological premises upon which these two models are based. By the end of the course, students should recognize that the two models are complementary rather than contradictory, and that the utilization of both models will best procure a positive patient-physician relationship in today's medical and social environment.

Medical Anthropology (3 credits)

This course introduces the student to the ways in which culture influences health and medical decisions in order for the student to understand how different societies manage the social and cultural conditions that affect health. The course will use anthropological methodologies as applied to health and biomedicine to cover concepts related to cultural competence and responsiveness, cultural effects on biology, ethno-medicine, and understanding health activities as cultural practices.

Medicine & Literature: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (3 credits)

This course introduces the student to the different ways that illness, health, and medicine are portrayed in literature by exposing the student to authors and characters that come from different cultural backgrounds. While the reading list is by no means comprehensive, it is intended to convey how the perception of medicine is dependent not only on technical scientific knowledge but also on individual experiences and social norms. By contrasting the different perspectives of medicine that each week portrays, the course will provide tools for cross-cultural understanding in a multi-cultural medical environment.

Bioethics: Questions Regarding End of Life Issues (3 credits)

This course introduces the student to the various ethical issues regarding circumstances of end of life care. In particular, it will discuss how to treat terminally-ill patients, definitions of death, the autonomy of the dying patient.  The course will also teach students how to identify the needs of the dying patient and family, along with how to meet those needs. Student will also explore their own individual feelings regarding the end of life.

Bioethics: Questions Regarding Beginning of Life Issues (3 credits)

This course introduces the student to the various ethical issues regarding circumstances of reproduction and neonatal care. In particular, it will examine the social and ethical issues surrounding contraception, abortion, surrogacy, reproductive technologies, genetic screening and engineering, the safety and consequences of transgenics and xenotransplantation procedures, cloning, and (moral) decision-making on behalf of neonates, considering the individual’s chance of surviving medical intervention and his/her future quality of life.

 

Sample Jewish Medical Ethics Elective Courses

Introduction to Jewish Medical Ethics (3 credits)

This course will provide an introduction to bioethical principles in the Jewish legal tradition, as well as their relation to the ethics of modern scientific practice.

Jewish Medical Ethics: Questions Regarding Beginning of Life Issues (3 credits)

This course introduces the student to the various ethical issues that are discussed in the Jewish tradition regarding circumstances of reproduction and neonatal care. In particular, it will examine the social and ethical issues surrounding contraception, abortion, surrogacy, reproductive technologies, genetic screening and engineering, cloning, and (moral) decision-making on behalf of neonates, considering the individual’s chance of surviving medical intervention and his/her future quality of life.

Jewish Medical Ethics: Questions Regarding End of Life Issues (3 credits)

This course introduces the student to the various ethical issues that are discussed in the Jewish tradition regarding end of life issues. In particular, it will discuss how to treat terminally-ill patients, definitions of death, the autonomy of the dying patient, and religious decisions regarding autopsies.

Jewish Medical Ethics: Questions Regarding Surgery (3 credits)

This course introduces the student to the various ethical issues that are discussed in the Jewish tradition regarding surgical procedures. In particular, it will discuss choices over whether to have surgery or not, the religious consequences that certain surgeries entail, how the Jewish tradition negotiates between the priority of saving lives and other religious demands, and the complex considerations regarding transplants.

Jewish Medical Ethics: The Patient-Physician Relationship (3 credits)

This course introduces the student to the various ethical issues that are discussed in the Jewish tradition regarding the patient-physician relationship. In particular, it is designed to help students appreciate the ways in which Jewish ethical values can influence the practice of medicine and the clinical encounter between doctors and patients. The course also attempts to make students more aware of the issues to be identified in clinical settings whereby the patient’s and doctor’s consideration of treatment options may be based on competing ethical values.