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Clinical Ethics Program

Clinical Ethics Program at University Hospitals assists clinicians, patients, and families navigate complex clinical encounters where values and preferences are often unarticulated or in conflict. Since its inception in 1975, the multi-disciplinary staff and faculty of the program provide clinical ethics consultation services, education, and scholarship in the field of bioethics.

The program’s clinical ethicists also serve on the adult and pediatric ethics committees and institutional review boards. They also act as living donor advocates, create and manage ethics related institutional policies and provides clinical ethics related education to University Hospitals’ faculty, staff and wider community.

Clinical Ethics Consultation

Clinical Ethics Consultation is an advisory service staffed by a clinical ethicist of the UH Clinical Ethics Program. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be contacted by patients, family members, surrogate decision makers and any University Hospitals faculty or staff member.

The resolution of value-conflicts promotes both quality care, improves and facilitates healthcare decision-making and supports patients and families in their discernment of their preferences and values.

The service provides guidance on issues including:

  • When disagreements about clinical care arise amongst a patient, their family and healthcare providers
  • Uncertainty about the appropriate decision maker
  • Address ethically complex or uncommon situations
  • Facilitate end of life decision making


The UH Clinical Ethics Program works in conjunction with the various adult and pediatric ethics committees that exist throughout University Hospitals.

Educational Programs


This is a two year position during which the fellow will work under the guidance of senior clinical ethicists on a high-volume adult and pediatric ethics consultation service (>400 consults annually within UHHS). The fellow will also support the work of our ethics committees, participate in the ethics education of providers and staff, contribute to ethics policy development, and conduct high-quality research and/or scholarship in the field of clinical ethics. The fellowship offers:

  • Acquisition of skills to conduct clinical ethics consultations in a variety of clinical settings by learning to assess medical facts, appreciate patient issues and analyze human values in medicine.
  • Development of communication and mediation skills to resolve conflicts and dilemmas in ethics consultation.
  • Practice in pedagogy through ethics education in an academic medical center and regional hospitals.
  • Engagement in ethics related research and scholarship, quality improvement, organizational ethics and policy development and review.
  • Mentorship for professional development and career guidance.