Original Publication
Open Access

Four Medical Ethics Team Based Learning Modules

Published: November 14, 2012 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9268

Included in this publication:

  • Ethics Thread.doc

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Introduction:  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. This educational resource provides the information and materials for four medical ethics team-based learning (TBL) modules. These experiences have been used at our institution as an ethics thread running through our first-year medical school physiology course. Methods: These modules cover the topics of informed consent, duty to warn, futility, and organ donation. It follows the standard team-based learning format. All sessions are cofacilitated by a physiology faculty and an ethicist. Results: All sessions were very well-received by students. Student individual readiness assurance test scores indicated that most students had prepared for class by reading the required materials. Comparison of student individual readiness assurance test and group readiness assurance test 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. Discussion: This resource could be integrated into many case-based health provider courses, with appropriate facilitation expertise. This resource has been integrated into the first-year, second semester physiology course at our school for three reasons: (1) course faculty were interested in integrating ethics content and welcomed ethics cofacilitators, (2) the course was case-based and so easily modified to include ethics case content, and (3) students were able to build on a foundation of ethics already learned in the first semester.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this resource, learners will be able to:

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

Author Information

  • Margaret M. Gaffney, MD: Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Ann Hirschman Cottingham, MA, MAR: Indiana University School of Medicine

None to report.

None to report.


Gaffney M, Cottingham A. Four medical ethics team based learning modules. MedEdPORTAL. 2012;8:9268. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9268