The development of a medical ethics curriculum in a General Internal Medicine Residency Program

S. A. Wartman, D. W. Brock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Since 1984, a three-year curriculum in medical ethics has operated at Rhode Island Hospital as part of the General Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University. The residency program was founded in 1980 to develop a model training program for internal medicine residents with a primary care focus. The three objectives of the curriculum are (1) to enable residents to recognize the ethical implications of both inpatient and outpatient clinical cases, (2) to teach residents to recognize ethics issues and alternatives in order to arrive at a well-rounded clinical strategy, and (3) to help them learn to communicate sensitively with patients and others about these ethics issues and proposed management plans. The six major topics covered by the curriculum (for example, informed consent) are co-taught in a seminar format by one or more of the three members of the multidisciplinary ethics faculty (a philosopher, an internist, and a communications specialist) and experienced physicians. The authors describe the program, the roles of the various faculty members, the program's focus on case discussions, the receptivity of the residents and faculty to the program, the use and training of a multidisciplinary faculty, efforts aimed at evaluation, and future directions of the program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-754
Number of pages4
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing(all)
  • Education


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