Georgetown, Catholic University, CHA collaborate on Catholic Clinical Ethics degree program

November 15, 2017

Georgetown University, the Catholic University of America and CHA are collaborating on a new Catholic Clinical Ethics certificate and master's degree program to prepare leaders in Catholic health care to address ethical issues related to clinical treatments, genetics, biotechnology and society within the framework of Catholic moral tradition and teaching.

The organizations developed the program to address the clinical and moral implications of these issues across patient care, access, health management, ethical decision-making and policy development.

Courses will be taught by full-time faculty of Georgetown University and the Catholic University of America, with students connecting with ethicist mentors from Catholic health care, according to those involved in the program's development.

The organizations hope to begin offering the program in the fall of 2018; the program is currently in the final approval process. CHA will provide more information, including program contact information, when it is available.

There will be two options for students: a 14-credit hour certificate that consists of three core courses, one elective and a capstone portfolio project; or a 30-credit hour master's degree program that consists of six core courses, three electives, a clinical practicum and a capstone portfolio project.

In both programs, each course will be offered online one night a week for 12 to 14 consecutive weeks. Students will participate together in the online sessions, which will include interaction between faculty and students.

The certificate or master's degree program in Catholic Clinic Ethics are suited for:

  • Executives in mission or ethics in Catholic hospitals or health systems
  • Physicians, clinicians and other medical professionals interested in augmenting their skills or changing careers into medical ethics
  • Professionals with ethics, pastoral care or religious studies backgrounds seeking to embark on or advance their careers in Catholic health care
  • Members of ethics committees
  • Members of institutional review boards, which review the methods proposed for research involving human subjects to ensure the methods are ethical
  • Professionals in health policy or social services who seek skills in Catholic health ethics

Some of those involved in the program's development said the training is particularly relevant at a time when emerging medical technologies hold ethical implications in Catholic health care, health systems are operating with financial pressures and limited resources and social norms are shifting.

Fr. Kevin FitzGerald, SJ, research associate professor at Georgetown University and the David P. Lauler Chair for Catholic Health Care Ethics, said an important aspect of the program will be its focus on Catholic moral tradition and teaching for those working in clinical settings.

Fr. Charles Bouchard, OP, CHA's senior director of theology and ethics, said the program will provide opportunities for professionals who want to get their feet wet in the field or fill a gap in their understanding of Catholic clinical ethics. "We're trying to expand ethical competency of our institutions generally," he said, "and create a culture of ethical thinking."



Copyright © 2017 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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