Ethical Reasoning

Animated Presentations of Dilemmas Involving Resource Scarcity and Allocation in Healthcare and Policy Settings

We worked with world-renowned bioethicist Dan Wikler on this project to make the process of making ethical decisions more accessible to public health students studying at Harvard and MIT. These videos have since become integrated into the core curriculum at Harvard School of Public Health.

Ethical dilemmas are thought experiments that help a person to sort out their core values. Details are removed from a more real-life scenario in order to get down to this core belief. Once the thought experiment is worked through, this person is then better able to act on those values when making real world decisions. The bioethics curriculum at Harvard School of Public Health focuses on some tough decisions that healthcare workers often have to make when there isn’t enough medication to go around – and sometimes even when there is.

We created a series of three thought experiments with Dan Wikler that build on each other and relate to setting priorities in healthcare. Dan Wikler narrated these himself. Then we created a curriculum to be used in graduate classrooms for professors to assess the thought processes of their students and make sure they are reasoning in a logical way. We presented our work both at Penn Equity Week at the University of Pennsylvania (and won an award for medical education category) and in Barcelona, Spain at the Institut Borja de Bioetica.

These teaching tools are fully open-source and available to all, so please contact us if you would like access.

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