Ethics Center Programs

Providence Center for Health Care Ethics offers a variety of programs for physicians, residents, nurses and other Providence caregivers, providing participants an opportunity to explore and examine the challenges in health care ethics.

The basic philosophy toward ethics education can be summarized as follows: ethics education helps to transform the technical skill and knowledge caregivers possess into therapeutic relationships and professional practices. In our educational opportunities, we aim to enhance the ethical components of each profession’s competencies.

Core Program

The Core Program is designed for physicians, nurses and all other Providence caregivers. Modules cover ethical principles and explore key topics encountered in clinical practice.

Core IA

Provides the ethical infrastructure and Providence approach to understanding ethics in health care, and introduces participants to the Providence model for ethical decision-making. It also includes a discussion of case studies on topics such as clinical conflicts, patient decision-making and professionalism.

Core IB

Explores through case-based discussion, the principle of respect for autonomy and its application in health care decision-making. Topics covered include decision-making capacity and assessment, surrogate decision-making models and identification of an appropriate surrogate.

Core ID

Offers insights into special topics in health care ethics through a Lunch & Learn series. The Center’s faculty selects topics and schedules events annually in coordination with the chairs of the local ethics committees and Mission Integration.

Core IIA

Builds on IA and focuses on harm reduction and how to balance these principles and arrive at a care plan that can be ethically justified. It explores the care of patients whose behaviors – both health-related and otherwise – present significant challenges for providing clinical benefit and even maintaining a therapeutic relationship.

Core IIE

Builds on IA and focuses on ethical issues in end of life care, and emphasizes key ethical principles across a variety of clinical scenarios. Topics include life-support withdrawal, code status, medically administered artificial nutrition, dialysis, pain management and issues of cross-cultural communication.

Core IIF

Provides background and understanding on the use of advance care planning materials, advance directive or POLST form, and when these documents and other sources may be used to guide care in challenging cases. A key component of this work is the exploration of case studies and relevant learnings from clinical practice.

Core IIG

Analyzes cases in traditional and evolving frameworks, and introduces a language that that better equips the naming and addressing of injustices that result in poor health. Explores the ways in which a social medicine framework can promote just health care and advance health equity, as well as transform bioethics into an effective ally for social justice.

Targeted professional-in-training education

We provide ethics education for the medical residencies, pharmacy residency, and clinical pastoral education program at Providence. The learning opportunities occur across a variety of settings and formats including, but not limited to:

Ethics conferences

Cover a broad range of themes and topics from professionalism issues such as truth-telling, confidentiality, moral distress, and clinical empathy to elements of decisional capacity, end-of-life decision-making, difficult encounters with patients and more. For the medicine residencies, topics for ethics-related conferences follow a three-year cycle, which offers residents the full scope of ethics across all six physician competency domains.

Ethics elective rotations

Offer participants an immersive experience in the work of ethics at Providence. This exposes residents to the broad range of settings and questions encountered by ethicists in ethics consultation, discernment and leadership meetings.


Ethicists round routinely to provide real-time support, as well as to prepare for focused teaching sessions or ‘ethics rounds.’ These are opportunities for caregivers to explore questions or issues that they may not have a chance to discuss otherwise.

Other Collaborative Programs

Ethicists are available for as needed in-services and presentations for targeted audiences including specific nursing units, departmental meetings, etc. Additionally, we work with Providence Medical Education to host scholars for medical grand rounds several times a year. These presentations may be viewed in-person or online.

Funded lectureships

The Ethics Center has three funded lectureships: one addressing ethical issues in health care, the second speaking to issues in palliative care, and the third designated to humanities in health care. These lectureships are named in honor of exemplary physicians from Providence.