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Advanced Training in Healthcare EthicsAdvanced tRaining in Healthcare Ethics


The UW School of Medicine Department of Bioethics & Humanities offers an online fee-based flexible distance learning program to provide advanced training in healthcare ethics. The Advanced Training in Healthcare Ethics (ATHE) program provides students with foundational knowledge and skills to broaden their competency in patient care, clinical ethics, and ethics consultation.

Our Program Director is Denise Dudzinski, PhD, MTS,Professor and Chair in the UW Department of Bioethics & Humanities and Chief, UW Medicine Ethics Consultation Service.  The ATHE program is guided by the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities’ Core Competencies for Healthcare Ethics Consultation.

ATHE courses do not “meet” in real time.  Weekly online coursework can be completed when it's convenient for you.  The program is comprised of three distance-learning courses (Theory, Law, and Methods) plus a five-day Continuing Medical Education (CME) course in Seattle. 


The curriculum includes three courses (equivalent to 12 credit hours) and a five-day CME course, the Summer Seminar in Healthcare Ethics. Courses are designed to develop clinical ethics and ethical reasoning skills. Training can be completed in one academic year, plus the five-day CME course.

Each distance learning course is 10 weeks.  Each course is the equivalent of 4 credit hours, made up of online instruction combined with independent preparation and study each week.

AUTUMN Course in Healthcare Ethics: Ethical Theory
This course studies important historical theoretical frameworks that are the foundation of modern medical ethics, as well as contemporary commentary. September – December. (Instructor: Nancy Jecker, PhD)

WINTER Course in Healthcare Ethics: Law
This course examines the relationship between bioethics and law. Analysis of paradigm legal and ethics cases and statutes related to informed consent, foregoing life support, confidentiality, and allocation of health care resources. January – March. (Instructors: Denise Dudzinski, PhD, MTS, and Patricia Kuszler, MD, JD)

SPRING Course in Healthcare Ethics: Consultation Methods
This course offers case-based practice in clinical ethics including methods of ethical analysis and writing ethics consultation chart notes. March – June. (Instructor: Georgina Campelia, PhD)

SUMMER SEMINAR in Healthcare Ethics (30+ CME credits; approx. $1000)
The Summer Seminar in Healthcare Ethics is a one-week in-person course held annually at the University of Washington in Seattle.  The seminar provides an intensive, interactive introduction to the analysis of ethical problems in clinical care. The seminar is designed for physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, attorneys, teachers, and other professionals involved in the care of patients or the education of providers. Annually at the end of July/early August.
This is a CME course and is not eligible for tuition exemption. For more information on CME credits, please visit www.uwcme.org.

Tailored for You

CONVENIENT.  Courses are asynchronous, meaning the class does not “meet” in real time.  Weekly online coursework can be completed when it's convenient for you.

FLEXIBLE.  You can complete the assigned material any time during the week, according to your schedule. On rare occasions, we may try to have everyone online at the same time. If/when this happens we will work with students to find a time that works for everyone.

INDIVIDUALIZED.  You may take just one or two one of the online courses if you do not want to complete the full program.  Please fill out the ATHE application form and indicate which course you want to take and why. 

YOUR TIMELINE.  You may take online courses over a period of several years, if that works better for you. Likewise, Summer Seminar can be taken before or after the online coursework, even a year or two later if that works best for you.

TRY IT OUT.  To see if you’d like to pursue ATHE, you are invited to the Summer Seminar in Healthcare Ethics in Seattle.  Reserve a spot at www.uwcme.org.  Registration opens annually in the spring.

Application Process

The application deadline for the AUTUMN 2019 certificate program entry is SEPTEMBER 1, 2019. We will maintain rolling admissions for applicants who would like to enroll in one or two of the courses within the current certificate year.

STEP 1: Complete the admission application [CLICK HERE TO APPLY] and submit the completed form to hlthethx@uw.edu.  If you do not want to complete all 3 courses, please indicate which courses you’d like to take.  If you later decide to take more courses, you will not need to apply again.

STEP 2:  Ask two people to provide professional letters of reference.  Please ask your referees to review the information about the certificate program on this webpage.  Referees should download this Confidential Reference Letter form [CLICK HERE FOR REFERENCE FORM], complete, and submit it directly to us at hlthethx@uw.edu.

Fees, Registration & Certificate of Completion

Fees for the Advanced Training Program are $4,000 per course ($1,000 per credit hour for the equivalent of 12 credit hours total) and are due in full on the following schedule:

  • AUTUMN Theory: September 10
  • WINTER Law:  January 2
  • SPRING Methods:  March 1

Registration for the 5-day CME course, Summer Seminar in Healthcare Ethics, is a separate fee (~$1000 for 30+ CME credits).  See www.uwcme.org for more information.

If you are a UW employee and your department will cover your certificate fees by paying with a UW budget number, you will receive a 20% discount ($3,200 per 4 credit hour course).A certificate of completion is awarded by the Department of Bioethics & Humanities (not the UW Graduate School). The department verifies completion of the three course series, and satisfactory completion of all certificate requirements.


Who should apply for this program?
We welcome applications from healthcare professionals who are interested in broadening their competency in patient care, clinical ethics, and ethics consultation.  Our students include physicians, nurses, clergy, social workers, clinical ethics consultants, members of ethics committees, and other healthcare professionals.  Successful students will possess strong writing, critical thinking, and verbal communication skills.  GRE scores are not required.

I’m interested in learning more.  How will I know whether this program is right for me? 
Please contact us at hlthethx@uw.edu, and we’ll be happy to talk with you about ATHE!

I just finished college and want to apply to medical school. Is this program right for me?
Not yet. While we encourage you to pursue your interest in Bioethics during medical school, this program is not intended as an introduction to bioethics. This training is better suited to professionals already working in healthcare.

I am a UW employee or trainee.  May I use UW’s Tuition Exemption to cover the fees?
No, this program is not tuition-based, so it is not eligible for tuition exemption.

Can I apply credits earned in the ATHE program toward other UW programs (like the MA in Bioethics program)?
No.  Credits may not be transferred.  If you are interested pursuing the MA in Bioethics, please email gradprog@uw.edu to learn more about our MA.  

Contact Information:

Margaret Mitchell
Education Programs Specialist    


The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities

The Healthcare Ethics Consultant-Certified (HEC-C) program is the first-ever certification program that identifies and assesses a national standard for the professional practice of clinical healthcare ethics consulting. Established by the HCEC Certification Commission, the HEC-C credential endorses your knowledge of key concepts in healthcare ethics and affirms your expertise, competence, and skillset. 



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