Health Law and Ethics Externship

The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law has partnered with the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics at Indiana University Health to create a one-semester externship for qualified law students with an interest in Health Law. 

The Health Law & Ethics Externship with FCME exposes students to the complex interconnections between health law and clinical (patient care) ethics.  The program is intended to enhance the students’ skills in health law case and statutory analysis through understanding essential aspects of organizational, clinical, and professional ethics in health care.  Students will experience practical applications of the rules and regulations designed to meet state and federal requirements.  The relationship between the law, the legal profession, and ethical practice in health care will be illustrated in case discussions and research projects.

Students will be selected by the IU School of Law faculty supervisors in consultation with the Program Manager of the Fairbanks Center.  Preference will be given to students who have demonstrated an interest in health care law and ethics through their personal statements, selection of courses, and previous community service or employment experiences. 

The Law School faculty supervisor(s) will provide externship responsibilities. The faculty will review the student time sheets, journals and the evaluation from the on-site supervisor(s).  The faculty will consult with the FCME Program Manager throughout the semester about the effectiveness of the program.

On-site supervision will be provided by the FCME Program Manager in collaboration with the FCME Director and an associate general council within IU Health. The on-site supervisor(s) shall be responsible for assigning work to the students, and shall make certain the work assigned is congruent with the educational objectives of this program.  The on-site supervisor(s) will regularly discuss assignments with the students and provide them with guidance in performing their tasks.  The on-site attorney supervisor shall be responsible for legal oversight of the students, and shall assume liability for all legal work done by the students. The FCME Program Manager, in collaboration with other on-site supervisors, will provide the law school with a final evaluation of the students’ work.

The primary learning activities includes meeting with the Ethics Fellows in their weekly medical ethics seminars, where experts on various medical ethics issues discuss topics. These seminars take place Wednesday mornings, usually beginning at 9am and ending at noon. There are afternoon sessions as well, which usually go from 1:00 to 3:30, yet these are optional depending upon the student's availability. You will be assigned weekly reading that relates to the seminar topic. you are also required to attend the bi-weekly meetings of the ethics consultation service, which meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays every month from 7:30-8:30am. You are invited to attend the meetings of the hospital ethics committee, which meet on the 3rd Friday every month from 7:00-8:30am.

Students are assigned legal research based upon legal issues which arise during ethics consultation, the ethics seminars, or any issues the FCME faculty may encounter.

Use of research data and publication of material generated during the Health Law & Ethics externship shall be at the discretion of the FCME Director.

The FCME Program Manager in collaboration with the on-site supervisor(s) will conduct a written final evaluation of the student.  The final grade for each student will be made by the IU School of Law faculty supervisor, based on the performance of the student at the work site as reviewed by the on-site supervisor(s), participation in classes and meetings at the law school, journal entries, time logs, and final paper.

For additional information contact:

Robyn Axel-Adams
Program Manager
Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics

Amy L. Elson, J.D.
Associate Director, Hall Center for Law & Health
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law