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The Program in Medical Ethics and Human Values ~ Tulane Electives in Ethics & Humanities

First and Second Year Electives

Affordable Care Act

This elective provides students opportunities to learn about nuances of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Emphasis will be on the three pillars of ACA, including individual mandate, employer mandate and insurance companies.

Art of Observation

This course, Art of Observation, is designed for first and second year students who are interested in developing their skills in observation, description, and interpretation. Through an educational collaboration between Tulane and the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), students will use works of art in tandem with images of actual patients to enhance their observational skills (FYI, all NOMA admission is free). Students will work with NOMA staff and Tulane faculty. No prior knowledge of art is required. The curriculum consists of three hours per week of activities designed to improve observational skills using art. Students will begin the course by looking at painted portraits under the tutelage of NOMA art educators. Weeks two to four of the course will combine brief lectures on the art of observation with interactive observation exercises held in front of actual works of art. These exercises will concentrate on descriptive and concise communication. Students will continue these exercises during the remainder of the course. During this time, the NOMA instructors will expand upon these basic concepts with additional paintings/portraits. Students will continue their fine art training and use their observational methods to gain clues from actual standardized patient photos under the guidance of the course director. Throughout the course, students will receive constructive criticism and feedback on their progress. They will also share with each other their observations, thereby learning observation through the perspective of others. In addition, through the practice of describing the painting, better communication is elicited from the viewer and confirmed by the audience interpreting those same ideas. In the final week of the course, students will engage in a team-based observation exercise using patient photos and fine art to assess their interval progress. At the end of this course the students will appreciate the importance and value of simple observation as a tool for physical diagnosis. They will also gain confidence in their patient presentations with improved ability to succinctly and precisely describe their findings.

Bioethics Seminar

This elective provides students opportunities to explore issues of organ donation, genetic screening and controversial medical procedures. Research ethics and reproductive autonomy will be part of the discussion.
Disparities in Health Care

The United States is the most diverse country in the world. The US is made up of citizens from all types of backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and beliefs. Cultural competence in health care is a course that gives students the opportunity to learn about cultural biases, social determinants of health, and adapt clinical and communication skills to adequately treat a diverse patient population. Furthermore, this course will help prepare students for USMLE Step II CS, a mandatory nationwide exam in which students must interact with patients of different races and ethnicities. This is an opportunity for students to gain worthy clinical and communication skills in order to deliver effective care to all patients, regardless of their background.

Foundations in Ethics

This elective provides an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the principles and practice of medical ethics presented in a case-based format.

Health and Human Rights

This course is designed to provide a forum for discussion of pertinent issues in global health and human rights and to motivate students to become active advocates for their resolution. Students will participate in weekly discussions with local and national experts in public health, clinical medicine, and health sciences research who are also strong advocates for human rights. The speakers will stress the importance of addressing the underlying social, political, and economic factors influencing health. Speakers will give examples from their background and the motivations for their career choices and discuss the skills and strategies necessary to become effective advocates for health and human rights.

Health Care Law & Regulation

This elective provides a broad survey of the most fundamental legal issues surrounding the delivery of health care in America.  No prior knowledge of health law is required.  By the end of this elective students should be able to explain both the current state of American health law and the social forces that have shaped its historical development. Major topics include state and federal regulation of health care providers and institutions; tort liability in the context of medical care; patient and provider rights and obligations; public and private insurance systems; and basic issues in bioethics and public health.  This elective is intended to provide only an introductory overview of the major issues in health law.History of Medicine Seminars

Weekly speakers will discuss various topics of interest to medical historians. Discussion of the medical aspects and their impact on current medical thought and practice will be emphasized.

History of Medicine Seminars

Weekly speakers will discuss various topics of interest to medical historians. Discussion of the medical aspects and their impact on current medical thought and practice will be emphasized.

Medical Humanities

This elective focuses on the application of literature and film to medical education and practice.

Narrative Medicine

What does it mean to experience illness? What emotions are felt when a student meets their first patient in anatomy lab, silently waiting and seemingly voiceless? Narrative medicine is an interdisciplinary field that explores these questions and challenges disparities in health care by allowing participants (students, patients, providers) to give voice to their experiences, be heard, and valued. The field is steadily growing, featuring the works of such doctor-authors as Atul Gawande, MD, Danielle Ofri, MD, and Paul Kalanithi, MD. This course serves as a primer, giving foundational tools and a space for students to engage with narrative medicine and more fully own their academic and clinical experiences.

Palliative & End of Life Care

The art and science of palliative and end of life care remain under-discussed and under-taught during the preclinical years of medical education. This can lead to both patient and provider frustration in addition to less than optimal patient centered care. This elective will foster a better understanding of core concepts palliative and end of life care while empowering students to begin the journey of feeling comfortable with having difficult conversations.

Social Contexts in Medicine

Social Contexts in Medicine is a longitudinal in which students perform interdisciplinary care coordination for vulnerable patients. Students will attend lectures, trainings, and perform home visits with vulnerable patients throughout the year.
Interested in learning more about the different religions and cultures of New Orleans and their views on medicine, death and disease?  Want to know how this can help you provide better health services to your patients?  This elective will develop your understanding of a wide variety of religions and cultural views on health care, including such faith practices as Islam, Voodoo, Buddhism, and local Vietnamese culture.  Through this elective, you will become a more sensitive and compassionate physician to those of differing faith practices and cultural traditions.