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Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics

  • Program Overview

    Masters in Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care & Bioethics (HCB)

    Our Program devotes equal attention to the mutually enhancing themes of bioethics, medical humanities, and the dynamic of compassionate care in a time when both patients and healthcare professionals find the healthcare system dehumanizing. Recognizing the need for an interdisciplinary approach to education, our faculty includes experts in Medicine, Ethics, History, Law, Literature, Philosophy, Religious Studies, the Social Sciences and Disability Studies. Our clinical faculty integrate perspectives from the humanities with their experience as health-care providers.

    Those who should consider applying for the program include

    1.) current MDs, RNs, JDs, PhDs, and other professionals seeking further expertise and career development;

    2.) medical students and others pursuing professional degrees in fields such as health care, health sciences, humanities, pastoral care, law, business, social work, and journalism; and

    3.) post-baccalaureate students in transition from the BA or BS to a professional degree who wish to expand their knowledge.

  • Admissions


    Requirements for admission to the MA in Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care & Bioethics  include:

    1. The admissions requirements of the Graduate School.
    2. Writing Sample: A personal statement describing the applicant’s relevant academic and work experience, and immediate and long-term goals.
    3. Letter of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation. At last two need to be from professors/instructors.

    Note: Students who do not meet the above requirements may be admitted conditionally. Their status will be reviewed after the first semester of graduate study.

    Make sure to check the program website for the latest instructions,

  • Degree Requirements

    Requirements for the MA Degree in Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care & Bioethics

    The program requires students to complete 30 credit hours (10 courses) and can be completed in one to three years. Four core courses, including our capstone course, are required. For the remaining six elective courses, students must take at least four with our Center faculty and may take the remaining two either from our own courses or from select courses across campus that meet the criteria for credit in the program.

    For a list of required courses, elective courses and course descriptions please visit our website.

    Required Courses

    HCB 501 Compassionate Care, Medical Humanities, and the Illness Experience

    HCB 502 Landmark Cases in Bioethics OR HCB 521 Clinical Ethics Practicum

    HCB 503 Traditions and Values in Bioethical Conflicts

    HCB 599 Special Projects Capstone Course


    HCB 502 Landmark Cases in Bioethics (if HCB 521 is taken as a required course, HCB 502 can be taken as an elective)

    HCB 504 Special Topic in Biotechnology

    HCB 510 Literature, Compassion, and Medical Care

    HCB 511 Bioethics, Disability & Community

    HCB 512 Altruism and Bioethics

    HCB 513 Disease and Society

    HCB 514 Global Bioethics

    HCB 515 Health Policy, History & Ethics

    HCB 516 Ethical Issues in Human Reproduction

    HCB 517 The Problem of Evil: Philosophical, Biological, and Social Dimensions

    HCB 518 Empirical Bioethics

    HCB 519 Public Health Law

    HCB 520 Bioethics and Film

    HCB 521 Clinical Ethics Practicum (if HCB 502 is taken as a required course, HCB 521 can be taken as an elective)

    HCB 522 The Role of Virtue Ethics in Medicine

    HCB 523 Special Topics in Medical Humanities

    HCB 524 Special Topics in Bioethics

    HCB 598 Independent Study

  • Facilities
  • Faculty

    Program Faculty

    Stephen G. Post, PhD
    Center Director
    History of Bioethics; Geriatrics; Dementia; Religion; Healthcare; Compassion and Altruism

    Research & Teaching Faculty

    Julie Agris, PhD, JD, LLM, FACHE
    Assistant Professor
    Health Law, Medical Ethics, Confidentiality and Privacy, Professional Identity, Healthcare Management and Values

    Maria A. Basile, M.D.
    Clinical Assistant Professor
    Human Values and Medicine; Literature and Medicine; Medical Professionalism; Medical Education; Leadership

    Richard A. Bronson, M.D.
    Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Pathology
    Reproductive Medicine; Poetry; Narrative in Medicine; Medical Education

    John L. Coulehan, MD, MPH
    Director Emeritus
    Literature and Medicine, Empathy, Narrative, Clinical Ethics

    Brooke Ellison, Ph. D.
    Research Assistant Professor
    Hope and Medical Ethics, Stem Cell Research, Sociology and Healthcare

    Lynn Hallarman, MD
    Clinical Assistant Professor
    Cancer Pain Management, Medical-Legal Issues at End of Life

    Craig Malbon, PhD, MDiv
    Leading Professor of Pharmacology
    Medical Ethics, Social Justice, End-of-Life Ethical Issues

    Phyllis Migdal, MD

    Clinical Assistant Professor

    Institutional Ethics Committee

    Medical Ethics, Health Disparity, Implicit Bias


    Gretchen Mockler, MD

    Attending Physician

    Assistant Clinical Professor


    Jeffrey Trilling, MD

    Associate Professor

    Medical Humanities and Ethics

    Physician-Patient Relationship

    Primary Care and Family Medicine

    Michael Vetrano, PhD
    Associate Course Director, Medicine in Contemporary Society
    Clinical Ethics and Decision Making, Doctor-Patient Communication, Spirituality and Health Care
    Religion and Bioethics

  • Contact

    Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care & Bioethics (HCB)

    Graduate Program Director
    Stephen G. Post, HSC Level 3, Room 080, (631) 444-9797

    Graduate Program Coordinator
    April Bortzfield, HSC Level 3, Room 080, (631) 444-8029

    Degree Awarded
    Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care & Bioethics