Medical Ethics and Law

Lauren B Solberg

Lauren B Solberg JD, MTS

Associate Professor & Program Director

Student Limit of 9


The Discovery Pathway in Medical Ethics and Law is a formal track in the University of Florida College of Medicine curriculum designed to provide students with a more in-depth look at legal and ethical issues in patient care and/or research.  Through practical, active learning opportunities such as attendance at ethics committee and IRB meetings, academic conferences, participation in ethics consultation for real (not simulated) patients, among other offerings, students will learn not only how to analyze ethical issues in research and patient care but also how to develop scholarship in law and bioethics. 

Track objectives

Students will

  1. Compare theories and methodology fundamental to conducting research in bioethics and law.
  2. Develop expertise in one or more fundamental aspects of medical ethics and law (for example issues in reproductive medicine, end of life care, or care of vulnerable populations).
  3. Develop skills to research bioethics and legal issues in medicine.
  4. Apply previously acquired knowledge on identifying, analyzing, and resolving ethical issues in patient care and research.
  5. Describe the ethics consultation process, including how to request an ethics consultation, appropriate formats for ethics consultation, and how to actively participate in ethics consultation.
  6. Describe the IRB review process, including the regulations that govern the conduct of human subjects research and the presentation of a protocol to the IRB.

Rationale for development of a track

  • Multiple student requests for more in-depth engagement in bioethics topics and processes
  • Career opportunities , in research and medical practice, such as participation in specialty society ethics policy boards
  • Competitor medical schools with similar tracks or comparable programs
  • Advanced  preparation for clinical and/or research ethical issues in residency

Track Requirements

  • Identify one of the Program in Bioethics, Law & Medical Professionalism core faculty as a “track mentor” (note: the “track mentor” need not be the faculty member with whom students conduct their track research project)
    • The identified BLMP track mentor will meet with their student(s) at least annually to monitor track progress, support student learning, and ensure student is progressing toward track completion
  • Satisfactory completion of Research and Discovery course in first year
  • Satisfactory completion of MSRP or other research project on relevant topic approved by BLMP track mentor
    • To satisfy this requirement, research should generate a peer-reviewed publication, a publication that undergoes a rigorous review equivalent to peer review (e.g. law review article), a poster, or other appropriate product
  • Satisfactory completion of Advanced Issues in Medical Ethics and Law as MS3 or MS4, or another elective with BLMP track mentor permission
  • Completion of any 6 activities (see activity list below)
    • Students may choose any combination of activities from the list below. Each conference, meeting, seminar, etc. counts as 1 activity, e.g. attendance at 2 ethics committee meetings counts as 2 activities. Students need not complete options 1-6 in order to meet track requirements.

Activity List

  1. Attend at or other relevant conference (e.g. on bioethics, health law, etc). For more information about FBN conference please visit their website.
    a. We note that students will receive complimentary registration for any FBN conference they choose to attend. Additionally, the Department of Community Health and Family Medicine supports the contributions of this track to the medical education curriculum. Pending the availability of funds, students in the track may receive funds from the department toward the cost of attendance at a conference that satisfies the track’s contact hour requirement.
  2. Attend IRB or IACUC meeting
  3. Attend IRB Brown Bag session
  4. Attend ethics committee meeting
  5. Participate in ethics consultation
  6. Read and discuss one of the following books with BLMP track mentor:
    a. Bioethics: A Clinical Guide for Medical Students, by Dan C. English
    b. Clinical Ethics: A Practical Approach to Ethical Decisions in Clinical Medicine, by Albert R. Jonsen, Mark Siegler, et al.
    c. Contemporary Issues in Bioethics, by Tom L. Beauchamp, LeRoy Walters, Jeffrey P. Kahn, Anna C. Mastroianni
    d. Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Clinical Research: Readings and Commentary, by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Robert A. Crouch, et al.
    e. Ethical Issues in Clinical Research: A Practical Guide, by Bernard Lo
    f. Florida Bioethics Network Guidelines for Ethics Committees
    g. Fletcher’s Introduction to Clinical Ethics, by John C. Fletcher, Paul A. Lombardo, Edward M. Spencer
    h. Principles of Biomedical Ethics, by Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress
    i. Resolving Ethical Dilemmas: A Guide for Clinicians, by Bernard Lo
    j. The Basics of Bioethics, by Robert M. Veatch
    k. The Ethics and Regulation of Research with Human Subjects, by Jesse A. Goldner, Nancy N. Dubler, Carl H. Coleman, and Jerry A. Menikoff
    l. The Oxford Textbook of Clinical Research Ethics, by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Christine C. Grady, et al.
    m. Other, with approval of BLMP track mentor
  7. Completion of 1 online bioethics training course, such as:
    a. CITI Conducting Human Subjects Research course
    b. CITI Responsible Conduct of Research course;
    c. CITI Ethics Committee Training course; or
    d. Other, with approval of BLMP track mentor
  8. Participate in other activities as approved by student’s track faculty mentor
    a. Examples of other activities may include department or college grand rounds, journal clubs, COM Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development seminars or workshops, meetings of relevant committees or workgroups, etc.