Stanford Center for
Biomedical Ethics

Biomedical Ethics & Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration (BEMH)

The Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration is part of the new initiative at Stanford University School of Medicine to enable medical students to study a chosen area in depth as a complement to the breadth of knowledge and skills gained by general medical education. BEMH is an opportunity for interested students to reflect on, analyze and contribute to the meaning of medicine by focusing on one (or more!) of the diverse fields that contribute to bioethics and/or the arts and humanities as related to medicine.

BEMH students will be able to examine the ethical and humanistic dimensions of research and practice, and focus on issues that they will confront whether at the laboratory bench or at the bedside. We define "Biomedical Ethics" as broadly encompassing the examination of the ethics of all biomedical research, medicine, and health care. We envision the "Humanities" to include the traditional humanities fields of literature, philosophy, history, religion, and the arts (visual, theatre, media), as well as humanities-oriented social sciences (including anthropology and sociology).

Here are examples of topics within BEMH: the impact of medical and technologic advances (such as genomics, stem cell research, etc); neuroethics; history of medicine; issues of health care access and public health policy; doctor-patient relationship and communication; end-of- life issues; medicine and the media; medicine and society; literature and medicine; medical anthropology; empathy and the experience of illness; the arts and medicine. There are many more.

BEMH is a richly interdisciplinary concentration. For example, a student who wishes to do a film on choices in the neonatal intensive care unit would study filmmaking and editing, communication, family interactions, neonatology, issues of limited resources, ethics of medical advances, informed consent issues, etc.

BEMH is a union of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics and the Arts and Humanities Medical Scholars Program . In addition, due to the medical school's ideal location on the same campus as the University, medical students in BEMH benefit from multiple opportunities for interdisciplinary work across the campus.

 

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