The Montefiore-Einstein Certificate in Bioethics and Medical Humanities is the longest running bioethics educational program in the tri-state area. The Certificate is earned by taking Bioethics and Medical Humanities I and II, over two semesters, in a single academic year.
Overall Structure — Bioethics and Medical Humanities I and II runs from September to May, spanning a full two-semester academic year. Each semester begins with an intensive full-day session and then proceeds with weekly seminars. Fall's full-day session presents a seminal and emblematic case — by way of a clinician's report, an interview transcript, video narration, a set of legal decisions and several articles from philosophy and literature — then helps students understand how the disciplines constituting bioethics each approach the ethics dilemmas that arise. Our Spring full-day session, credited by many students with markedly changing the way they practice, teaches conflict mediation in the setting of bioethics.
The Seminars — The weekly seminars meet during the semester for three hours, on Wednesdays from 4-7pm, in the Cardozo Law School building (at the corner of 5th Avenue and 12th Street). We tackle core issues such as end-of-life decision-making, reproductive technologies, research on human subjects, organ transplantation, and access to care for vulnerable populations — each from the perspectives provided by varied disciplinary approaches. Our law professor guides us through a close reading of court cases, revealing how judicial decisions and legal reasoning shape clinical practice. Our specialist in comparative literature leads us through works of fiction, finding there a lens to focus on issues of power in representation and the central place of narrative in medicine. We review state and national bioethics health policies with a policy specialist who helped draft them. And throughout, the seminar format encourages lively discussion, through the rigorous analysis of texts and writing closely supervised by faculty.
Our Students — Since its inception in 1995, an average of 25 participants have earned the Certificate each year, including professionals and students in health care, law, chaplaincy, social work, basic-science research, and hospital and research administration. Many of these alumni chair or serve on hospital ethics committees, conduct bioethics consultation services, sit on institutional review boards, administer nursing homes, hold positions in state health care agencies, and write and lecture on bioethical issues. Our expanding circle of alumni provide participants with strong networking resources and opportunities to observe bioethics in its varied settings. We therefore also actively encourage and select participants who are not directly involved in health care or scientific research, but whose work is informed by the aspirations and challenges of shaping science and medicine with humane treatment in mind.