Undergraduate Ethics Education

Curriculum Goals

The medical ethics curriculum integrates into all four years of medical education at Icahn School of Medicine. It focuses on the development of the core competencies that all physicians should have for navigating the ethical issues that arise in clinical practice. The program fosters understanding of basic concepts of medical ethics, the development of skills in clinical moral reasoning, and nurtures the attitudes and inclinations that enable trainees to be exemplary physicians.

Program Design

Because no single specialty has all of the necessary expertise, we recognize the need for co-teaching medical ethics. Co-teaching also presents a model of philosophers and physicians listening to each other and working together. By their participation, medical faculty exemplify commitment to the position that medical ethics is a legitimate concern of real doctors. Because we recognize the need for philosophical expertise and curricular responsibility, the Director oversees all formally scheduled bioethics education.

Preclinical Years

Medical ethics education in the first and second years is integrated into the two-year course, the Art and Science of Medicine and the first-year Epidemiology course. The curriculum for the first and second year medical ethics sessions provides students with an understanding of basic concepts and principles of medical ethics.

Clinical Years

Ethics sessions in the third and fourth year are integrated into each of the clinical clerkships. A physician from the specialty along with a philosopher both lead the ethics sessions in the third- and fourth-year clerkships. They focus on the recognition and appreciation of basic concepts in the clinical context. Sessions also address the development of competency in moral reasoning.

Official Recognition

We have incorporated ceremonies and awards programs throughout the year to emphasize the importance of ethics and professionalism in medical education. These activities are part of our educational effort to inculcate and reinforce professional values. Over the course of the academic year, we celebrate the following:

  • White Coat Ceremony
  • Humanism in Medicine Faculty Award
  • Humanism in Medicine Student Award
  • Student Clinician's Ceremony
  • Resident Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Awards
  • The Alexander Richman Commemorative Award and Lecture in Humanism and Ethics in Medicine

Contact Us

Karen Smalls
Tel: 212-241-6602
Fax: 212-241-5028
Send e-mail

Office Location
Annenberg 12th Floor, Room 12-42
Hours of Operation: 9am-5pm, M-F