About The Program
The CEP provides a personalized educational program that allows professionals and their organizations to develop and maintain an awareness and expertise in clinical healthcare ethics. The Program educates institutional representatives to become ethics resource persons within their organizations and assists them in designing and implementing an ethics education plan to meet their organization’s specific needs. For all participants, including individual members, the CEP provides graduate-level education in healthcare ethics through a variety of formats:
- Weekend conference: Held in the fall of each year, this intensive, informal, three-day conference includes CEP-affiliated faculty and national scholars.
- Seminar series: Throughout the year, members attend full-day seminar sessions.
- Webinars: Distance learning sessions are offered several times a year.
- Online teaching modules: Members have access to online tools to teach healthcare ethics to staff within their organizations.
- Onsite programming: Institutional members have access to CEP faculty to provide continuing education within their institutions to address staff educational needs and to help expand ethics awareness throughout the institution. Onsite programming can focus on ethics committee members, clinicians, or institutional leadership. Customized skill-building activities for ethics consultants is also available.
CEP membership is open to healthcare institutions, representatives designated by their institutions, and individuals interested in healthcare ethics. Participants in CEP programs come from all professional backgrounds, including those associated with acute care institutions, long-term facilities, home care providers, healthcare insurers, law firms, private practices, and educational institutions.
Please contact our office (412) 623-2033 to discuss membership or to arrange a site visit to help assess institutional ethics needs.
History of the Consortium Ethics Program
The CEP began as a pilot program for 12 acute-care hospitals in 1990 with a grant from the Vira I. Heinz Endowment to the Center for Bioethics & Health Law. Since 1996, the program has been self-sufficient and is currently supported by member institutions and individual members. The Program’s institutional membership has grown to have a more diverse profile that includes health systems, hospice facilities, in-home healthcare, and regional hospitals serving urban and rural communities.
The Program’s early history as a pilot and demonstration project in healthcare ethics education is documented in two articles appearing in HEC Forum, first in 1995 and again in 1999. The Program resulted from the collaboration of Alan Meisel, JD; Lisa Parker, PhD; and Rosa Lynn Pinkus, PhD, who served as the program's Director until 2013. The program enjoyed the administrative support of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and was housed within the Center for Bioethics & Health Law.
Several bioethicists began their careers working in the CEP. Mark Kuczewski, PhD, the first Associate Director of the CEP, is now the Fr. Michael I. English, S.J., Professor of Medical Ethics and Director of the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy at Loyola University, Chicago. He is also a past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH). The 1999 casebook he co-authored with Dr. Pinkus is now in its second edition: An Ethics Casebook for Hospitals: Practical Approaches to Everyday Ethics Consultations (Georgetown University Press, 2018, with Katherine Wasson, PhD, MPH).
The second Associate Director of the CEP was Mark Aulisio, PhD, who is now Susan E. Watson Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioethics at Case Western University. He served as executive director of the ASBH task force that issued the report Core Competencies for Health Care Ethics Consultation (ASBH, 1998), and was project director for the Greenwall Foundation / ASBH project that sought to develop education and training guidelines for those doing ethics consultation. James Dwyer, PhD, currently Professor of Bioethics and Humanities at Upstate Medical University, served as the third Associate Director during his tenure in Pittsburgh.
In 2014, pediatric surgeon and bioethicist Aviva Katz, MD, MA, became the Director of the CEP, and the Program enjoyed the continued administrative support of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine’s Division of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Katz served as Chair of the Committee on Bioethics of the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as Director of the Ethics Consultation Service at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Vice Chair of the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Review Board. She served as Director of the CEP until her death in January 2018. Since that time, Lisa Parker, PhD, Director of the Center for Bioethics & Health Law and an author of the original proposal for the CEP, is serving as the Program’s Acting Director.