Health Sciences Education Symposium

First Author Information

Michael Amendola MD FACS, Associate Professor of Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System

Additional Author(s) Information

Brian Kaplan MD FACS, Professor of Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System

Presentation Format


Type of Activity


Original Presentation Date


Date of Submission

May 2017

Abstract/Short Description

National undergraduate medical student curriculums dedicated to the ethical practice of surgery are lacking. To that end, we propose a Surgical Ethics Online (SEO) course. SEO will be undertaken during third year medical school surgical clerkships at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (VCU-SOM). SEO is an online collaborative educational program centered around clearly defined objectives that focus on the principles of clinical ethics. Learners will be evaluated with a pre- and post-program assessment as well as with online discussion forum evaluation. The program will be formally distributed to VCU-SOM in the fall of 2018. An abridged pilot and needs assessment instruments will be obtained in the spring of 2017.

Purpose/Research Question

The goals of SEO are …

1. … to increase VCU-SOM undergraduate medical students’ exposure to clinical ethics as it applies to surgical practice, in other words, a dedicated surgical ethics course of study.

2. … to inform, enlightened and encourage undergraduate medical students about potential career paths in surgery and surgical subspecialties."


Describe the need for an online surgical ethics curriculum.

Describe current needs assessment instruments to be employed in the development of an online surgical ethics online program.

Describe current needs assessment instruments results obtained to date.

Describe future directions in terms of development of the surgical ethics online program (SEO).


Angelos P. (2013). Ethics and surgical innovation: challenges to the professionalism of surgeons. International Journal of Surgery. 11(S1) S2–S5.

Association of American Medical Colleges – AAMC. (2013). Core Competencies for Entering Medical Colleges. Accessed 18 January 2016. Washington, DC: Association of American Medical Colleges.

DuBois J, Burkemper J. (2002). Ethics Education in U.S. Medical Schools: A Study of Syllabi. Academic Medicine. 77(5) 432 – 7.

Eckles R, Meslin E, Gaffney M, Helft P. (2005). Medical Ethics Education: Where are We? Where Should We Be Going? A Review. Academic Medicine. 80(12) 1143-52.

Kern DE, Thomas PA, Hughes MT, eds. (2009) Curriculum Development for Medical Education: A Six-Step Approach. 2nd ed. Baltimore (MD): Johns Hopkins University Press.

Lehmann L, Kasoff W, Koch P, Federman D. (2004). A Survey of Medical Ethics Education at U.S. and Canadian Medical Schools. Academic Medicine. 79(7): 682-9.

Paola F, Barten S. (1995) An ‘Ethics Gap’ in writing about bioethics: a quantitative comparison of the medical and surgical literature. Journal of Medical Ethics. 21: 84-88.

Woleben C. personal communication, January 15, 2016.


© The Author(s)

Is Part Of

VCU Medical Education Symposium