Since the creation of the original Program in Healthcare Ethics, Humanities and Law in the 1990s, the Clinical Ethics program in the CBH at the University of Colorado has sought to make itself a seamless and expected part of the activities on campus. The goal is to encourage engagement with the perennial and emergent ethical issues and to provide a “home” for discourse that enriches and broadens the perspective of professionals and professional students alike.
Now, at both University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado, faculty from the Center encourage clinical dialogue about the “big picture” questions of how to care for people as persons and how and when to use technologic advances through rounding, consultation, provocative grand rounds presentations and Ethics Committee membership that is inclusive. The network of Nurse Liaisons at Children’s complements the consult team. At present, faculty are “at the table” for the complex maternal-fetal challenges of newer advances.
At UCH, regular rounds and consultations have named some of the important challenges facing the institution: medical screening exams, pharmaceutical costs, complex discharge issues, and informed consent in emergent situations to name just a few. Outreach teaching of ethics consultation has encouraged rural and community hospital ethics committees to use a systematic approach to consultation. The Center also convenes Ethics Committee leadership of affiliate hospitals to discuss common problems; this has produced a white paper about “unrepresented” patients that is being shared with stakeholders across the state.
CBH faculty are very involved in academic service. They serve on curriculum committees in the School of Medicine, professionalism committees, various hospital committees, Health Science Library committees and are advisors to the campus choir and orchestra. Faculty are also involved in national service to the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities as board members, officers and task force members.
Since 2009, the Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Program has provided a robust series of lectures, writing workshops and writing contests, visiting scholars, and artistic presentations. The Program has continued and expanded the "Art in Medicine Lecture Series" inaugurated over 20 years ago and has recently added a new case discussion series, "Ethics Bites." The Human Touch: A Journal of Poetry, Prose and Visual Arts is now in its 9th volume, and Letters to a Third-Year Student, a collection of letters written by senior medical students to third-year students beginning their clerkship is in its fifth year of publication. The Art Gallery has and will continue to bring at least 3 - 4 major exhibits to campus each year.
All of these activities expose students, faculty, staff, and community members to the interconnectedness of these important fields and to the professional work that the Center for Bioethics and Humanities is engaged in.