Philosophy professor talks clinical ethics in UO Today interview

March 14, 2017 - 3:16pm

The latest episode of UO Today”​​​​​​​ features a conversation with Nicolae Morar, a UO professor of philosophy and environmental studies, and John Holmes, the director of ethics for PeaceHealth Oregon and a UO instructor in philosophy.

They discuss developing and teaching clinical ethics, a class they debuted in winter 2017 that examined theoretical ethical problems that can arise in health care. The class is split between being held in the classroom and at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend, where students explore the practical application of ethics in a health care setting.

Morar developed the class with support from the Oregon Humanities Center’s Robert F. and Evelyn Nelson Wulf Professorship in the Humanities.

“We’ve constructed the class around the clinical practices that play out within the modern medical keep-care setting,” Holmes said. “We have a sense of ‘clinical’ here that talks about hospitalization and a bit of the outpatient stuff, but it’s really around the physician/provider relationship with patients and the kinds of decision-making that take place in a hospital or a clinical setting.”

For Morar, the class was an opportunity to show students how the theories of bioethics are actually put into practice.

“For a long time as a philosopher, I’ve been in the classroom and I would build up case experiments or thought experiments, and there’s a sense of abstraction or distance from the problem,” he said. ”When we designed the class, we wanted to see how physicians work with those tools in their own practice. For example, on a Tuesday we’d talk about conditions of informed consent, and then that Thursday we would go to Riverbend and have two physicians come in to tell us what informed consent is for them.”

“UO Today” is a weekly half-hour interview program hosted by Paul Peppis, a UO English professor and director of the Oregon Humanities Center. Each episode features a conversation with UO faculty and administrators, visiting scholars, authors or artists. It’s produced by the Oregon Humanities Center in collaboration with UO Library’s Center for Media and Educational Technology.

Here’s a look at some of “UO Today’s” upcoming guests:

Thursday, March 16: Erin Moore, UO professor of architecture and environmental studies. She uses her architecture practice, FLOAT, to test environmentally-friendly designs with a focus on small structures inhabiting ecologically unique sites around the world.

Wednesday, March 22: Jill Harrison, UO sociology professor, who studies the local effects of globalization, deindustrialization and environmental change. She’s currently working on a book focusing on how shrimp fishers in Louisiana have responded to the BP oil spill in 2010.

By Noah Ripley, University Communications