Courses Offered by Faculty

Courses Offered by Faculty

CCTS 21004 / RLST 26315 (100 units)
Christian Traditions and Medicine in the Late Modern World
Winter 2018 (Mon/Wed 10:30pm - 11:50pm), Jan 3 - March 7
M214 CHeSS Conference Room (Section of Hospital Medicine), Mitchell Hospital
Instructors: Daniel Kim, MA, MPH & John D. Yoon, MD

What is the meaning of medicine in our contemporary world? How has it changed over time, and what are its normative conditions and challenges? What religious and spiritual resources might Christian traditions bring to bear on such questions? This course rests on the assumption that contemporary challenges in medicine stem from a moral pluralism reflecting the cultural conditions of late modernity, as well as from a growing inability to maintain clinical excellence in an increasingly complex and bureaucratic health care system. We will first examine this assumption and its sociological, historical, and theological significance. In parallel, we will engage guest speakers throughout the course who will help us comparatively explore several Christian responses to modernity and to diverse domains of medicine. Lastly, we will critically explore James Hunter’s constructive proposal of “faithful presence,” and what that might mean in the context of medicine. Our goal, ultimately, will be to reflect on the conditions and challenges of modern medicine and to appraise the historical and theological resources that the Christian traditions may offer.


CCTS 21005 / MED 31005 (50 units)
The Making of the "Good Physician": Virtue Ethics and the Development of Moral Character in Medicine
Spring 2018 (Thurs. 2:00 - 3:20pm), Mar 29 - May 31
M214 CHeSS Conference Room (Section of Hospital Medicine), Mitchell Hospital
Instructors: John D. Yoon, MD & Michael Hawking, MD

This multi-disciplinary course draws insights from medicine, sociology, moral psychology, philosophy, ethics and theology to explore answers to the unique challenges that medicine faces in the context of late modernity: How does one become a “good physician” in an era of growing moral pluralism and health care complexity?  Throughout the course, we will drawing from Lauris Kaldjian’s book, Practicing Medicine and Ethics: Integrating Wisdom, Conscience, and Goals of Care (Cambridge University Press, 2014) who provides a framework for addressing this question from the perspective of virtue ethics. The course will first introduce the challenges that moral pluralism in contemporary society presents to the profession of medicine along with the subsequent calls for a renewed pursuit of clinical excellence in today’s complex health care system. It will then survey the resurgence of a virtue ethics that has begun to shape contemporary debate regarding what types of “excellences” are needed for a good medical practice dominated by medical science and technology. Lastly, students will examine recent research in the field of moral psychology that is shaping contemporary views regarding moral and professional formation and identity. Finally, students will examine studies from the vocational psychology literature on work motivation, focusing particularly on the construct of calling and its application to the pursuit of clinical excellence in medicine. Students will engage the virtue ethics literature to address issues regarding the legitimate goals of medicine, medical professionalism, the doctor-patient relationship, vocation and calling, the role of religion/theology in medicine, and character development in medical education.


Co-sponsored by the Hyde Park Institute and the Committee on Clinical & Translational Science (CCTS).

MEDC 30030 / RETH 30030
Religious Perspectives on the Clinical Encounter 
Spring 2018 (Wed. 1:30pm - 3:00pm), Mar 28 - May 30
M214 CHeSS Conference Room, Mitchell Hospital
Instructors: John D. Yoon, MD & Aasim I. Padela, MD, MSc

Medicine is a moral practice, and suffering, illness, and dying are among the most deeply challenging of all human experiences. It is not surprising then that religious and spiritual traditions inform the ways many patients and clinicians understand, navigate, cope with, and make decisions related to illness. These traditions are a significant source of personal identity for some clinicians and also serve as a moral framework through which groups of patients and providers address challenges in healthcare. A burgeoning literature on the religious characteristics of clinicians delineates how clinicians’ religious traditions and commitments can shape their clinical practices (Program on Medicine and Religion). Drawing from this literature and the primary course text, Spirituality and Religion Within the Culture of Medicine (Editors: Michael Balboni, PhD & John Peteet, MD, Oxford University Press, 2017), this course will provoke learners to consider the religious and spiritual dimensions of the clinician-patient relationship through the lens of different specialties and disciplines in medicine, while covering broad concepts relevant to the intersection of the clinical encounter with religion (the Abrahamic traditions of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism). Guest speakers will also enrich the course by sharing a clinical encounter that addresses, and/or personal perspective on, how their own religious tradition attends to the question, “How does one become a good clinician (healer)?”


Courses No Longer Being Taught

RETH 45610/ LAWS 80404/ MEDC 45610  
Seminal Texts in the History of Medical Ethics
Spring 2014 (and will be offered every other Spring Quarter, Tuesday evenings, 6-8:50pm)
Instructor: Daniel P. Sulmasy, MD, PhD

This seminar involves a close reading (in translation, but with some texts available in original languages) of seminal texts from antiquity through to the mid-20th century that have shaped thinking about medical ethics. We concentrate on Western works, including Hippocrates, Plato, Scribonius Largus, Ali al-Ruhani, Paracelsus, Isaac Israeli, Maimonides, John Gregory, Thomas Percival, Worthington Hooker, William Osler, Richard Cabot, Francis Peabody, and various medical oaths and codes of the 20th century. We also read several non-Western texts: The Oath of Initiation of the Caraka Samhita and the Chinese text known as “The Five Commandments and Ten Requirements.” The class is conducted in classical seminar style, with students assigned to lead the discussions of particular texts.  Our interdisciplinary discussion exemplifies and provides a context for the interdisciplinary nature of the field.

RETH 45401/ MEDC 45401/ LAWS 80403
Theories of Medical Ethics
Spring 2015, then every other Spring, Tuesday evenings, 6-8:50pm. 
Instructor: Daniel P. Sulmasy, MD, PhD

Open to Divinity, Law, and Medical students, this seminar involves a close reading and critique of the most prominent theories in contemporary medical ethics, including Principlism (Beauchamp and Childress), Utilitarianism (Singer; Epstein), Libertarianism (Engelhardt), Contractualism (Veatch), Foundationalism (Pellegrino and Thomasma), Casuistry (Jonsen and Toulmin), and Covenantal approaches (Ramsey; May). The class is conducted in classical seminar style, with students assigned to lead the discussions of particular texts. Our interdisciplinary discussion exemplifies and provides a context for the interdisciplinary nature of the field.