About the Bioethics Program

The Bioethics program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) originated in 1980 and grew out of the work of a small faculty Committee on Medical Ethics chaired by James J. Strain, MD, an Ethics Committee chaired by Kurt Hirschhorn, MD, and in 1981 a Faculty Seminar on the History and Philosophy of Medicine organized by Daniel A. Moros, MD. 

Over the years, we have created a comprehensive bioethics program that serves the medical school, the Mount Sinai Health System and the Mount Sinai community.  It includes ethics education for our medical students, house staff, and nurses, and a variety of courses and activities for teaching bioethics to MD and PhD and students in our several Masters Degree programs.  It also establishes an institutionalized relationship between Icahn and an international academic community. In addition, members of the Bioethics Program provide clinical and research ethics consultation, participate in research, and conduct scholarship. Learn more about our recent scholarship

Bioethics at ISMMS has grown to include the Master of Science in Bioethics degree, as well as a curriculum for teaching bioethics to MD and PhD students, house staff, and students in our master's degree programs, which involve institutional relationships between ISMMS and Clarkson University and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  In addition, we partner in an annual international academic consortium on bioethics with the bioethics programs at Oxford University, King's College of London, the Free University of Amsterdam, and Bar Ilan University in Israel.

Within the ISMMS medical education program, ethics lectures and discussions on the ethical and legal aspects of medicine are part of the two-year course, The Art and Science of Medicine.  Ethics sessions are also incorporated into the medical students’ clinical clerkships. Through these elements of the curriculum, students learn that talking about ethical issues is not only permissible, but encouraged.

Rosamond Rhodes, PhD

Rosamond Rhodes is a Professor of Medical Education and Director of Bioethics Education at Icahn School of Medicine where she oversees the medical ethics curriculum for students in all four years of medical school, for house staff in eleven residency programs, for graduate post-doctoral fellows in the biomedical sciences, and for students in the genetics counseling program. She directs a program of faculty medical ethics education and collaborates with faculty members on a variety of research projects.

Dr. Rhodes serves as Secretary of Mount Sinai's Ethics Committee and she is a member or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). She is also Professor of Philosophy at The Graduate Center, CUNY and Professor of Bioethics and Associate Director of the Union-Mount Sinai Bioethics Program.

Beyond the teaching setting, Dr. Rhodes serves on the editorial boards of the international journals Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics and Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine, as well as the MIT press Basic Bioethics series and the Cambridge Dictionary of Bioethics. She has published more than 200 articles and chapters on a broad range of issues in bioethics including: professionalism, surrogate decision making, research ethics, organ transplantation, and bioethics education. She also writes on the history of moral and political philosophy. Dr. Rhodes is co-editor of Physician Assisted Suicide: Expanding the Debate (Routledge, 1998), Medicine and Social Justice: Essays on the Distribution of Health Care (Oxford, 2002; 2nd edition 2012), the Blackwell Companion to Medical Ethics (2007), and The Human Microbiome:  Ethical, Legal, and Social Concerns Oxford University Press: New York (2013).

Bernard H. Baumrin, PhD, JD

Bernard H. Baumrin is Professor of Philosophy, The Graduate Center, CUNY.
Two topics that have animated much of his recent research are the relationship between medical science and medical ethics, and the relationship between law and medical decision-making. These relationships generate several problems that appear to lead to inconsistent resolutions – for example, that for doctors, good science trumps good ethics, and for lawyers good law trumps good ethics. Yet both science and law are based on very sound moral principles – that is, truth and justice.

Graduate Degree Programs include Ethics in Society with CUNY’s Philosophy Program (since 2001) and Bioethics with Clarkson University (since 2007).

Conferences include:

  • Medical Center:  The Richman Lecture (annual - since 1984 – including presentations by Willard Gaylin, Joshua Lederberg, Eli Wiesel, Arthur Caplan, Albert Jonsen, Jonathan Glover, James Childress)
  • New York Regional:  Issues in Medical Ethics (annual - since 1986)
  • Regional:  Annual Medical Student Ethics Conference (annual - since 2016)
  • International:  Oxford-Mount Sinai Consortium on Bioethics (annual - since 1992)
  • International Conference on Clinical Ethics and Consultation (2015 host)

Education for the Mount Sinai Community includes:

  • Faculty Seminar in Philosophy and Medicine (monthly - since 1981)
  • Center-Wide Ethics Luncheons (monthly - since 1990)
  • Research Ethics Noon Conference (semi-annually since 2010)
  • Nursing Ethics Council (monthly since 2014)
  • Working Papers in Ethics and Moral Psychology (monthly - since 2014)

The post-graduate medical ethics program provides ethics education for house staff and fellows in formats designed to accommodate departmental needs and schedules.  Training includes:

  • Critical Care - SICU Curriculum-based Clinical Case Conferences
  • Neurology - Clinical Case Conference
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology - Seminar in Medical Ethics
  • Oncology - Seminar in Medical Ethics
  • Ophthalmology - Seminar in Medical Ethics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery - Seminar in Medical Ethics
  • Orthopaedics - Seminar in Medical Ethics
  • Pediatrics - Participation in rounds  and Noon rounds
  • Preventive Medicine -   Seminar in Medical Ethics
  • Psychiatry - Seminars in Medical Ethics
  • Radiation Oncology - Seminar in Medical Ethics
  • Rehabilitation Medicine - Seminar in Medical Ethics
  • Surgery - Participation in team rounds
  • Transplant Institute - Annual lectures 

Nursing Unit Ethics Rounds meet each week on a rotating schedule that covers each in-patient and out-patient nursing unit.  These sessions provide the nurses and other medical professionals with the opportunity to share their thoughts on the ethically difficult cases that present on their unit. These meetings, which are led by faculty members of The Bioethics Program, are designed to encourage reflection and group problem solving.  They also aim at promoting understanding of nursing ethics and clarifying ethical principles and responsibilities.  This activity is intended to ultimately enhance the quality of patient care.

Medical Center activities also include:

  • Clinical Ethics:
    • The Mount Sinai Medical Center
    • The Mount Sinai Health System