Ethics teaching at The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine began when the medical school accepted its first students in 1967. The ethics program co-evolved with the school and the Department of Humanities without guidelines or models, since neither medical ethics nor medical humanities had yet been invented as fields of study. The focus of the article is on two key differences between the Penn State ethics program and most other such programs: the teaching of medical ethics within the context of other issues of value and meaning in medicine, and the fact that the humanities faculty is involved in the activities and structures of the medical center of which the medical school is a part. The authors close with a description of successful factors in their program that they maintain could apply to other programs.
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