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Alden March Bioethics Institute

Scholars Program


The Scholars Program in Bioethics

All medical students who attend Albany Medical College may apply to participate in the Scholars Program in Bioethics and graduate with a “Distinction in Bioethics.”

This program is an extension of the requirements of Health, Care and Society and is designed to provide students an opportunity to develop advanced training in bioethics and related topics. Upon completion, students may apply to our other graduate programs in bioethics.

Purpose

The Scholars Program in Biomedical Ethics resulting in a Doctor of Medicine with Distinction in the Study of Biomedical Ethics is designed for students who have a serious interest in the fields of medical ethics and bioethics, and in particular the physician-patient relationship. The goal for students is to develop this interest into a specialized competency for future use in their medical career. By providing this opportunity for Albany Medical College students, we hope to help generate future physicians who become leaders in an expanding field with significant implications for society and all patients.

Description

Matriculated students of Albany Medical College are eligible to complete the Scholars Program in Biomedical Ethics during the four years of medical school. This may be accomplished by using the requirements in Health, Care and Society (HCS) as the basis for receiving the equivalent of three graduate courses.

Admission

Any matriculated Albany Medical College student may request admission to the Scholars Program during the first year of medical school. Students may continue to participate in the program on the condition that they remain in good academic standing while fulfilling their medical school requirements. Students who wish to participate in this program must declare their intention to do so no later than April 15 of the first year.

Screening and Review Committee

The Scholars Program in Biomedical Ethics Committee will screen and review the candidacy of all applicants and will monitor their academic standing throughout medical school. This committee will notify any student who becomes ineligible to continue the certificate program.

Requirements

HCS I

Students will complete the normal requirements expected of all medical students including approximately 36 hours of class time, assigned readings for each class and four papers distributed over the year on assigned topics that demonstrate critical thinking. The thrust of HCS I is designed to introduce students to the significance and role of the physician-patient relationship, the foundations of medical ethics and many related topics such as cultural diversity and medical professionalism. Students seeking to fulfill the requirements for the Doctor of Medicine with Distinction in the Study of Biomedical Ethics will be assigned additional focused, advanced readings. They must also perform satisfactorily on a comprehensive written assignment.

HCS II

Students will complete the normal requirements expected of all medical students which includes approximately 36 hours of class time, assigned readings for each class and four papers distributed over the year on assigned topics that demonstrate critical thinking. The thrust of HCS II is designed to introduce students to the methodology of ethics case analysis and basic issues in medical ethics, as well as key related topics such as death and dying. Students seeking to fulfill the requirements for Doctor of Medicine with Distinction in the Study of Biomedical Ethics will be will be assigned additional focused, advanced readings. They must also perform satisfactorily on a comprehensive written assignment.

HCS III

Students seeking to fulfill the requirements for the Doctor of Medicine with Distinction in the Study of Biomedical Ethics will meet in the 12 HCS small group seminars in the Medicine, Ob-Gyn and Psychiatry clinical rotations. In addition to meeting all of the required expectations of HCS, students will work with a faculty advisor to identify a clinical ethics topic of special interest. This topic will be explored and developed in discussion and case write-ups, resulting in a set of well-defined research questions and an outline of a paper which will adequately address those questions. A thorough literature review will be completed for each section of the outline. This work will be the basis for the fourth year rotation focused on a research topic in medical ethics (see below).

HCS IV

Students seeking to fulfill the requirements for Doctor of Medicine with Distinction in the Study of Biomedical Ethics are required to complete a one-month HCS rotation. They will complete, and prepare for submission for publication, a final research paper on a well-defined, focused topic (see HCS III ) in medical ethics. The length, format and style of their paper will be tailored to the guidelines of the particular journal to which they hope to submit the paper. In addition to completing this research, students will do focused reading in clinical ethics, and be required to demonstrate competency in performing an ethics consultation. They will also be required to pass the exam required of all IRB members that tests their understanding ethical issues and concerns as regards research involving human subjects.

For more information about the Scholars Program, please contact Wayne Shelton, Ph.D. at sheltow@mail.amc.edu or (518) 262-6423.

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