In the past half century, the rapid pace of medical progress has generated both serious interest and intense controversy regarding the social and moral implications of medical advancements.  From the present practice of in vitro fertilization to the future promise of stem cell therapy, scientific and technological medical advances have multiplied our ethical concerns.  Bioethics, the specialty area that seeks to understand these complex challenges, is dedicated to addressing moral issues in health care and the biological sciences.


In the 1970s, bioethics emerged as a discipline with its own experts, in response to the increasing complexity of medical advances.  Since its inception, the field has grown exponentially in its scope and importance. Today, there are bioethics centers or departments in over 60 U.S. academic medical centers, and many hospitals now employ bioethics experts to advise on such issues as allocation of scarce resources and how to care for terminally ill patients.  As a result, bioethics is a standard component of today’s medical and nursing school curricula, with ethics committees at over 95% of U.S. hospitals seeking to help physicians, nurses and families negotiate bioethical issues and concerns on a case-by-case basis.


Despite the growing demand for specialists in bioethics, there is a lack of advanced training programs to prepare the next generation of bioethicists.  Few of the nation’s bioethics programs offer a Master’s Degree, and only two offer a dedicated Ph.D. in bioethics.  To ensure that the field of bioethics keeps pace with medical advances and their related ethical issues, cities like Cleveland, that undeniably possess the capacity, experience and expertise to develop bioethics training programs, need to ensure that the bioethics leaders of tomorrow are thoroughly prepared for the complex ethical challenges they will encounter.  


To address the need for bioethics training, four premier academic-medical institutions are developing The Cleveland Fellowship in Advanced Bioethics (CFAB) –  The Cleveland Clinic, in collaboration with University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, and MetroHealth Medical Center form this innovative, multidisciplinary, multi-institutional advanced training program.  The program will provide practical, experiential learning and academic rigor for scholars launching a career in bioethics.  CFAB was born of the rare confluence of need – there are few advanced bioethics training programs in the U.S. or abroad; capacity – the City of Cleveland possesses world-class clinical, research and bioethics resources; and resolve – four distinguished institutions sharing the common goal of making Cleveland the global center of bioethics expertise. While the program’s physical home will be at The Cleveland Clinic, each partner organization will share program governance equally.


Scheduled to begin enrolling students in July 2007 with an inaugural class of five Fellows, CFAB will grow to include ten total Fellows, with five Fellows per class, by the following year.  An elective third year for Fellows committed to research careers in Bioethics is also planned.

If you are interested in learning more or applying as a candidate for the Cleveland Fellowship in Advanced Bioethics, contact Gail Lalli at: