The Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics at Indiana University Health sponsors a nine-month, part time fellowship aimed at training health care professionals in clinical ethics, including ethics consultation and ethics research.  Graduates become capable members of the ethics community, resources for their colleagues facing ethical challenges in patient care, and have the potential to become leaders in the field of medical ethics.

The target audience for the fellowship includes physicians, nurses, chaplains, and social workers.  Other members of the community (e.g. attorneys or members of administrative staffs) may also apply. 

Application to the fellowship is competitive. The application process includes submission of a written application (which includes several brief narrative essays), a letter of support from the applicant’s immediate supervisor, one letter of recommendation, and interviews with Fairbanks Center staff.  The application is submitted electronically.

The Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics will grant certificates of completion to Fellows successfully completing the nine-month fellowship.  Fellows will be evaluated on participation in seminars and meetings, performance in ethics consultation under supervision, and completion of a scholarly project.

Applications for the 2017-2018 Fellowship are now closed. Please check back in March 2018 for more information about applying.

Fellowship Activities

The fellowship requires one dedicated day per week (Wednesdays) for the academic year (8/30/17 through 5/23/18) plus additional time for ethics consultation, completion of reading assignments and the scholarly project.  IU Health employees may continue full time employment at their regular jobs with the permission of their unit managers.  Through special arrangements with Nursing, Social Work, and Chaplaincy department leaders, fellows may be permitted release time from normal work assignments to participate in fellowship activities.  For others, individual arrangements will be coordinated.

The core activities of the fellowship include:

  • A Core Curriculum focused on key areas of clinical ethics, consisting of assigned reading and weekly seminar discussions with Fairbanks Center staff and noted content experts to occur over the nine-month fellowship
  • The Fairbanks Ethics Lecture Series, focused on central concepts and practical topics in clinical ethics
  • Optional participation as observers in monthly IU Health Ethics Committee meetings
  • Attendance, when possible, at other ethics meetings or presentations (e.g. FCME Unit-Based Ethics Conversations)


  • Participation in the IU Health Ethics Consultation Sub-Committee activities, including attendance at the sub-committee’s twice-monthly meetings and participation in bedside consultations. 
  • Fellows take call with the on-call ethics consultants 1-2 months.


  • Completion of a “scholarly project,” an independent ethics research, educational, or quality improvement project.  This will be designed and completed with guidance from Fairbanks Center faculty and staff.  Examples of this might include research projects, hospital policy development, projects aimed at improving ethical aspects of staff relations, etc.
  • Interactions with an ethics Mentor or Mentors who will provide guidance in independent projects and activities for each Fellow

Current and Previous Fellows’ Projects

  • Robyn Axel-Adams, M.Div A curriculum for resident physicians addressing how to take a spiritual history and address a patient's spiritual concerns
  • Robin Bandy, JD, MA Medical decision-making during the guardianship process for incapacitated, hospitalized adults: a descriptive cohort study
  • Gabriel Bosslet, MD A mail survey of physicians and medical students regarding their utilization of online social networking sites and their attitudes regarding physician-patient interactions through these sites.
  • Zeynep Salih, MD Development of an ethics curriculum for neonatology fellows
  • Casie Stevens, MSN, RN, CCRN Geriatric trauma: a clinical and ethical review. A literature published in the Journal of Nursing Trauma
  • Traci Kaufman, MSW, LSW An interview study of psychosocial social workers to identify, describe, and define “unsafe” discharges.
  • Maggie Uhrich, BSN, RN, OCN Ethical dilemmas in prognostic communication in oncology nurses: A mail survey study of Oncology Nursing Society members