Four Medical Ethics Team Based Learning Modules

Publication ID Published Volume
9268 November 14, 2012 8


This educational resource provides the information and materials for four Medical Ethics Team Based Learning (TBL) modules on the topics of: Informed Consent, Duty to Warn, Futility, and Organ Donation. These experiences have been used at our institution as an ethics thread running through our first year medical school Physiology course. All sessions are co-facilitated by a physiology faculty and an ethicist.

All sessions were very well received by students. Student IRAT scores indicated that most students had prepared for class by reading the required materials. Comparison of student IRAT and GRAT scores indicated that team discussion was effective in improving student understanding of the ethical issues. Student response to the Group Application questions demonstrated sophisticated ethical reasoning, and frequently witnessed differences in opinion, substantiated by ethical reasons, between and within groups.

Social and behavioral sciences have been integrated into our basic science courses to effectively link basic, behavioral and clinical science content at a foundational level for medical students. Addition of these cases to the formal curriculum has shown substantial effectiveness in the IUSM USMLE Step 1 Behavioral Science scores.


Gaffney M, Cottingham A. Four medical ethics team based learning modules. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2012;8:9268.

Educational Objectives

  1. To describe the ethical issues, including moral stakeholders, relevant ethical rights/duties, and conflict of values, in a clinical case.
  2. To demonstrate the ability to frame a moral conflict, suggest a resolution and defend it.
  3. To attain objectives specific to each of the four modules included in this packet, described in the attached facilitator guides.


  • TInformed Consent, Duty to Warn, Futility, Organ Transplantation, Justice, Beneficence, Confidentiality, Conflict of Value, Moral Conflict, TBL, Team-Based Learning

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ISSN 2374-8265