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Educating present and future clinicians in bioethics and medical humanities is a key focus of our mission. Members of our center engage in research to improve and advance the field of bioethics and its intersection with education.

Learn more about the work of our center members in this area below.

 Angira Patel, MD/MPH

Exploring and understanding ethical issues in pediatric cardiology that may have implications for parental decision making and policy; developing a certificate program to provide foundational knowledge of bioethics to medical trainees.

Ethical issue in Pediatric Cardiology

I am interested in issues that affect decision-making, informed consent, and implications of policy recommendations in pediatric cardiology. To this end, I have pursued research relating to:  

  • Implications of universal lipid screening and statin therapy in children
  • Pediatrician attitudes towards universal electrocardiogram screening and its implications
  • Variations in practices for heart transplant listing among pediatric transplant cardiologist
  • Presence of concomitant genetic abnormalities in neonates undergoing surgery for congenital heart disease and its potential impact on parental decision making
  • Parental refusal of surgery for congenital heart disease

Bioethics Certificate Program

I am involved in creating a bioethics certificate program for graduate medical trainees.  Clinical medical ethics or bioethics has long been recognized as an important component of residency education and requires that residents are provided educational experiences to demonstrate competency in professionalism and interpersonal and communication skills. Specifically, understanding ethical principles, identifying ethical issues encountered in medicine, and demonstrating the ability to perform ethical analysis is critical in clinical decision-making when it involves consideration of patient and family values.   Training physicians to do this well and be leaders in the future in biomedical ethics education can be challenging.  My goals for this program are to: 

  • Evaluate the current landscape of trainee education with a rigorous needs assessment
  • Explore methodologies to develop a curriculum that will not only effectively teach ethics to medical trainees but will also identify tools that will translate to trainees’ future careers

For more information, please see my faculty profile.  


See publications in PubMed.


Contact Angira Patel, MD/MPH, at 312-227-4100.

 Greg Brisson, MD

Developing an approach for the ethical use of electronic health records in medical training

Our ongoing research project focuses on the ethical implications of using EHRs in MD training. Medical students access and contribute to EHRs when part of a clinical team. When a patient is discharged or students switch to a new clerkship, many Feinberg students continue to “track” former patients’ progress via the EHR, using it as a learning reference in their clinical training.

The ethical issue we look to address is protecting patient privacy while preserving the educational benefit of tracking. Our goals include raising awareness about this activity at academic medical institutions and instituting guidelines for tracking former patients in the EHR at FSM-affiliated hospitals. To date, our work includes:

  • Surveying Students: We discovered that most Feinberg students track former patients in the EHR.
  • Collecting Community Feedback: The ​Patient Family Advisory Council at Northwestern Memorial Hospital concluded that medical students should be permitted to track former patients in the EHR. However, they agreed that guidelines were needed to ensure that students use the EHR in a manner consistent with patient choice.
  • Developing Tools and Guidelines: The project team developed guidelines on how to track in an ethically appropriate manner which were then shared with M3 students via training and scripting.
  • Assess Value: Post-roll out survey of the students revealed that the new guidelines did not create a barrier to tracking former patients and that the vast majority of patients agreed to student requests to track their progress. The guidelines offer students a first-hand opportunity to own and manage an ethical issue during their training, just as they will as professionals.

For more information, please see my faculty profile.


See Greg Brisson, MD, publications in PubMed.


Cynthia Barnard, MBA MSJS CPHQ VP, Quality Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Research Associate Professor Northwestern University Center for Healthcare Studies

Kathy Neely, MD, NMH chair of Medical Ethics Committee

Patrick Tyler, MD, FSM ‘2015, second year resident in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston

David M. Liebovitz, MD, FACP, Chief Medical Information Officer, Associate Professor of Medicine, The University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences


Contact Greg Brisson, MD, at 312-503-6400.