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Academic Activities

Center for Bioethics and Humanities faculty and faculty associates are involved in teaching students in all professional schools and allied health programs on the Anschutz Medical Campus as well as in interdisciplinary programs on the Denver campus. We also offer a Graduate Certificate in Health Humanities and Ethics.​ 

Our research and scholarship focus on innovations in interprofessional education, development of health humanities curricula, and ethical implications of advances in genomics.  The Center directly supports ethics consultation, policy development and clinician education across the university and the state. 



IPED 5001 & 6001: Interprofessional Education and Development

Required for all health professions students 
This course develops core competencies in teamwork and collaboration, values and ethics, and quality and safety for first and second year health professions students from dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy and the physician assistant program.  The course is taught in a team-based format requiring individual preparation before each session followed by the application of that learning through team-based activities.  There are a total of 16 sessions – 8 in the first year and 8 in the second year.  Five of the sessions deal with values and ethics and include the following: 

  •         Introduction to Values/Ethics - Why and How?
  •         Professional Responsibilities and Patient Autonomy
  •         Informed Consent and Shared Decision Making
  •         Conflicts of Interest in a Team Context and Abuse of Power
  •         Access to Health Care and Justice 
CPBS 7605:  Ethics for Bioinformatics 
Ethics for Bioinformatics is a course that Marilyn Coors, PhD co-directs and teaches with Larry Hunter, PhD, for students in the Computational Bioscience Program.  It meets for seven two-hour sessions that involve students directly in discussions, role-playing exercises and other active learning approaches.. It familiarizes students with the bright lines that ought not to be crossed in the course of research, the big picture that conceptualizes bioinformatics research in the wider world, and the deep questions that research activities could address. The course familiarizes students with the ethical underpinnings of bioinformatics research and provides them with a vocabulary and framework by which to discuss and responsibly address ethics in computational biology research.
Instructor:  Therese Jones 
This course introduces undergraduate students to the rich field of the health humanities.  Taking a topical approach, students examine the ways a variety of disciplines analyze the relationships among health, medicine, and society, and what the health humanities can teach us about biomedical theory and health care training and practice.  Students develop historical, literary, philosophical, and rhetorical understandings of medicine and health, paying particular attention to power relationships and categories of difference, as well as explore the wealth of imaginative materials that represent the human experience of illness, suffering, disability and death.  Topics include classical to clinical medicine; enhancement technologies; narrative medicine; history of epidemics; mental illness; sexualities; disability studies; and media. 
Humanities, Ethics and Professionalism (HEP) Thread - School of Medicine 
The HEP Thread is part of the Longitudinal Curriculum in the School of Medicine and integrates 75 hours of Bioethics, Humanities and Professionalism content throughout the four years. There are three other threads in the curriculum: Culturally Effective Care, Evidence Based Medicine, and Medicine and Society.

A combination of lectures, small group discussion, case analyses, films, literature and self-reflective exercises are used to promote the acquisition of key competencies in communication, end-of-life and palliative care, ethics, law, professionalism and spirituality.  Sessions are integrated in the essential blocks in the first two phases, the clinical blocks in Phase III, and the 5 Integrated Clinicians Courses that bring all of the students back together in Phases III and IV. 
Examples of sessions include Cadaver as First Teacher, Research Ethics/Mock IRB, Hidden Curriculum, Maternal/Fetal Conflicts, Informed Consent, Professionalism cases, and End-of-Life Ethics Cases. Jackie Glover, PhD is the Director of the HEP Thread. 
Mentored Scholarly Activity (MSA) - School of Medicine 
The MSA project is a four-year requirement for all undergraduate medical students. The project culminates in a capstone presentation in Phase IV prior to graduation. The goal of the MSA curriculum is to foster self-directed, life-long learning over the course of the medical student career. 
The MSA requires students to identify and work with a mentor to complete their projects, which also prepares them for working with mentors in their careers and serving as mentors to others in the medical profession. The definition of scholarship is broad and encompasses many different methodologies and thematic areas. Jackie Glover, PhD is the Associate Director for the Bioethics, Humanities, Arts, & Education Thematic Area.  Other thematic areas include Basic Biomedical Science, Clinical Science, Epidemiology, Public & Community Health, and Global Health.  Click for information about MSA​
MEDS 8039:  AIDS and American Culture 
Instructor:  Therese Jones, PhD 
Spring Semester for Fourth-Year Medical Students 
This course approaches HIV/AIDS as a biomedical, social, political and creative phenomenon.   We examine how epidemics solidify barriers among social groups throughout the history of western culture and investigate the discourse and images of AIDS in journalistic writing, autobiography, fiction, poetry, film, television, visual arts and photography.   
MEDS 8040:  Reel Psychiatry: Film and Mental Illness
Instructor:  Therese Jones, PhD
Spring Semester for Fourth-Year Medical Students
There is a long-standing and well-documented relationship between movies and psychiatry.  For many non-physicians, fiction and documentary films have provided the main exposure to the personal experiences of patients and professionals grappling with mental illness and to the symptoms and treatments of psychotic or personality disorders. For many physicians, such films have provided ready access to the storehouse of images that dominate the unconscious and to the complex motivations that make up an unforgettable character-patient.  Just how accurate are film depictions of psychiatric conditions?  And how have such cinematic representations shaped our personal responses, cultural beliefs and social policies regarding the mentally ill and those who care for them?  Films include Snakepit, Titicut Follies, Ordinary People, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Bridge and Requiem For a Dream. 
PHRD 7865: Film and Healthcare
Instructor:  Therese Jones, PhD
Spring Semester for Pharmacy Students
This elective is designed to encourage reflection on the humanistic issues associated with health, disease and treatment through the lenses of film and literature.  The course promotes an understanding of how the representation of a situation can influence the perception of disease and treatment and, in so doing, enhances a student's ability to empathize and communicate more effectively with individual patients and the general public.  Students are introduced to and analyze the elements of film in materials such as Miss Evers’ Boys, Dirty Pretty Things, Supersize Me, Requiem For a Dream, Wretches and Jabberers, and Wit
Illness, Disability and the Individual:
An Integrated and Longitudinal Humanities Seminar
Instructor:  Therese Jones, PhD
“Illness, Disability and the Individual” is an integrated, longitudinal and required seminar for Physical Therapy students to explore and analyze imaginative materials such as film, poetry and fiction that represent the vagaries of the human condition across the lifespan.  Through stories of illness, disability, and accident, students consider such issues as personal and cultural meanings of illness and disability; positive and negative images of healthcare professionals; and the rights of patients and responsibilities of professionals.  Materials include; Gattaca, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Complaints of A Dutiful Daughter.​