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Clinical Ethics Service

Clinical Ethics Service

Background

The Clinical Ethics Service within CBSSM represents an expansion of existing services designed to promote a culture of patient-centered excellence by developing a comprehensive set of ethics-related activities. The aims of this service are to: liaise with and provide support to the adult and pediatrics ethics committees; streamline clinical ethics consultation; assist with ethics-related policy development on a regular and proactive basis; organize and administer structured educational programs in clinical ethics; and coordinate empiric research with relevance to clinical ethics within CBSSM.

Organization

The Clinical Ethics Service is led by the chairs of the adult and pediatric ethics committees and consultation services, Christian J. Vercler, MD, MA and Andrew G. Shuman, MD. A dedicated clinical ethicist manages the service on a daily basis. A cadre of seven faculty ethicists rotate on service throughout the year and work closely with the clinical ethicist. Trainees and students rotate as well. Dedicated administrative support is organized through CBSSM. For an overview of the service, please click here to view an informative slide presentation.

Clinical Ethics Consultation Service

The Clinical Ethics Service offers adult and pediatric ethics consultation services across Michigan Medicine, and are available 24/7/365. More information about the adult and pediatric ethics committees and consultation services can be found on the Adult Ethics Committee and Pediatrics Ethics Committee web pages.

Preventative Ethics

The concept of preventative ethics is critical in anticipating, navigating and mitigating potential conflicts and tensions before they become true ethical dilemmas or crises, and necessitate formal consults. This model facilitates awareness and proactive decision-making on the part of patients, families, trainees and staff, and creates a more visible presence for ethics in the health system. The Clinical Ethics Service offers regular preventative ethics rounds in a variety of care settings across Michigan Medicine.

Educational Program

Medical ethics is an integral component of contemporary education for all clinicians. There is a vibrant program for longitudinal ethics education within the medical school, and a more intensive curriculum as part of its path of excellence program. The Clinical Ethics Service provides a robust program for longitudinal education and awareness of clinical ethics for Michigan Medicine staff and trainees.

People

Service Chiefs:
Clinical Ethicist:
Faculty Ethicists:

Contacts

Service Chiefs of the Clinical Ethics Service: Christian J. Vercler, MD, MA & Andrew G. Shuman, MD
Administrative contact: Amy Lynn – lynnam@med.umich.edu  734-615-8377

Interim Co-Director Brian Zikmund-Fisher was featured in “Medicine at Michigan.” Brian shared his personal experience with risk and probability in medical decision making.  This experience provided him with the personal career goal of improving patients’ lives by making health information easier to understand.

This is the first featured story in the new section “Gray Matters,” which gives our faculty members the opportunity to write about complex issues in medicine, such as ethics and decision-making.

"A Calculation of Risk"

Fri, February 28, 2014

Brian Zikmund-Fisher was quoted in a Scientific American article about risk communication of certain chemicals in the lives of expectant parents. He explains, “Look at your life and the choices you make, and do things that can make you safer easily, but don't overreact to anything ... There are very, very few things out there that have such huge effects on our lives or our baby's lives that one teeny bit of exposure is going to make a difference.”

Mon, June 23, 2014

Brian Zikmund-Fisher was interviewed by Reuters Health for the article "Shared decision making still lacking for cancer screening." He discusses his research and trade-offs in cancer screenings. "What this study does is it shows that despite all of the initiatives and the discussion of shared decision making that has been going on, we don't seem to be moving the needle very much," he states. 

His interview also received press in the Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News.

Thu, September 11, 2014

NOVA (on PBS) broadcasted a special episode on vaccines. Brian Zikmund-Fisher was interviewed and prominently featured. Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago-whooping cough, measles, mumps-are returning, in part because nervous parents are skipping their children's shots. Amid the return of vaccine-preventable diseases, NOVA examined the science of immunization, tracked outbreaks, and shed light on the risks of opting out.

The program premired Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 9 pm/8c on PBS. Watch the full program here.

You can read the press release here.

Research Topics: 
Mon, January 30, 2017

Brian Zikmund-Fisher's The Conversation piece on raw cookie dough was cited in the Popular Science Health article, "The Chemicals In Burnt Toast And Crispy Fries Won't Kill You, But The Calories Might."

Mon, May 15, 2017

U-M is keeping the dialogue going by offering an online teach-out on the topic of the importance of science and research. "Stand Up for Science: Practical Approaches to Discussing Science That Matters" was recently offered. In this video, Brian Zikmund-Fisher, and Elyse Aurbach, co-founder and co-director of a science communication program called RELATE, explain the importance of science and research. Watch video and read more about the teach-out here.

Research Topics: 
Wed, October 11, 2017

In an editorial in Nature Human Behaviour, Brian Zikmund-Fisher discusses the findings of a recent study about the unintended consequences of argument dilution in direct-to-consumer drug advertising. In a series of experiments, study authors, Niro Sivanathan and Hemant Kakker found that long lists of serious and minor side effects found in drug advertisements actually "dilute" consumers' judgments of the overall risk from side effects.

Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD, is one of three speakers in a recent public health webcast on strategies for conveying the health risks of the H1N1 virus. Zikmund-Fisher is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and CBSSM. To view the webcast, click here.

Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD, gave a talk at the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands, on June 22, 2011.

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