Wellstar Fellowship in Clinical Ethics
About the Program
The Wellstar Fellowship in Clinical Ethics is a two-year, full-time clinical ethics training program that is structured to prepare graduates with the necessary knowledge and skills that are needed to become competent professional clinical ethicists at the conclusion of the fellowship. The fellowship is appropriate for those looking for robust training and education in clinical ethics and ethics consultation in preparation for a career in clinical ethics—whether that be in a full-time capacity (for example, a professional clinical ethicist) or in a part-time capacity (for example, a healthcare professional or academic professor who provides clinical ethics consultation on a part-time basis as part of their job duties).
Applications will be considered from professionals who have terminal post-graduate degrees (MD, JD, PhD) in bioethics, medicine, philosophy, nursing, social work, religious studies, law, or other fields related to the practice of clinical or academic bioethics. Certain ABD candidates (those who have completed all doctoral work other than the dissertation) may be considered for a pre-doctoral fellowship if their dissertation significantly relates to clinical ethics and can be completed during the two-year fellowship. Strong consideration will be given to applicants with potential for leadership in the field and who are dedicated to the advancement and improvement of professional clinical ethics. Generally, completed applications should be submitted by October 15th and the starting date for the fellowship is July 1st of the following year, though some fellowship years may slightly deviate from this standard schedule. Instructions for applying to this fellowship can be found at the bottom of this page.
Situated within one of the largest health systems in Georgia, the Ethics Program at Wellstar Health System is a thriving program that enjoys robust institutional support and is establishing itself as a leader in the field of clinical, organizational, and research ethics. The Ethics Program is actively integrated throughout the health system, including Wellstar’s 11 hospitals, 3 inpatient hospice facilities, 3 skilled nursing facilities, and numerous outpatient sites. The Ethics Program is also active in Wellstar’s two large medical residency programs at Kennestone Hospital and Atlanta Medical Center, in addition to the Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship at Kennestone Hospital.
The Ethics Consultation Service within Wellstar’s Ethics Program is robust and one of the largest and most active services in the nation. Given its size and level of activity, Wellstar’s Ethics Consultation Service has two clinical ethicists on-call at all times, with each ethicist responsible for differing hospitals, hospices, nursing facilities, and outpatient sites within the system. Each clinical ethicist usually has a clinical ethics fellow and/or additional medical residents or fellows rotating with them.
Fellows will spend substantial time on the Ethics Consultation Service at all Wellstar sites. Fellows will also have shared offices at both Kennestone Hospital and Atlanta Medical Center with additional workplaces at various other facilities across the health system.
The fellowship’s curriculum consists of five core components: clinical ethics consultation training, clinical ethics education, teaching and scholarship, a quality improvement project, and mentorship.
Clinical Ethics Consultation Training
- Opportunity to train under fellowship-trained professional clinical ethicists with substantial experience in clinical ethics consultation.
- Training in a high-volume service (800+ consults system-wide projected for fiscal year 2021 – 2022) that receives a variety of types of ethics consults.
- Progressive independence in the ethics consultations throughout the fellowship—from primarily shadowing the clinical ethicists in the first months to practicing independently with limited supervision by the end of the fellowship.
- Approximately 50% of fellows’ time will be spent on-call with the Ethics Consultation Service.
- Elective opportunities to rotate with other clinical services, including Palliative Medicine, Advance Care Planning, Spiritual Health/Chaplaincy, Hospice, and other services.
- Culminates in the fellow taking and passing the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) HEC-C certification course in the second fellowship year to become a certified Healthcare Ethics Consultant.
Clinical Ethics Education
Weekly mandatory education sessions on a variety of topics and issues relevant to clinical ethics practice, including but not limited to: end of life issues, research ethics, organ transplantation, public health ethics, religious bioethics, moral distress, pediatric ethics, reproductive ethics, among others.
Varied format sessions—formal didactics, case studies, article reviews, skills training, etc.
Led by both clinical ethicists and fellows—and occasionally other healthcare professionals—providing fellows with opportunities for teaching experience and CV development.
Teaching and Scholarship
- Specific expectations regarding number of teaching sessions facilitated and scholarship submitted to peer-reviewed journals and professional conferences.
- Numerous opportunities for teaching at every hospital, from medical resident and fellow teaching to formal scheduled continuing education credit sessions all the way to one-off teaching sessions resulting from a specific area of educational need in individual units.
- Many opportunities to collaborate in research projects and papers with other members of the Ethics Program, including opportunities to lead projects and papers as first author.
- Ability to further explore one’s own research interests and present at national and international conferences with a professional development/travel budget.
Quality Improvement Project
- Required quality assessment/improvement project that is aimed at identifying, assessing, and developing recommendations or solutions to address a specific topic, issue, or problem related to clinical ethics work.
- Assistance with the project is provided by the fellow’s mentor, as well as other needed parties throughout the Ethics Program.
- Valuable experience in a skill and ability that is required for any healthcare professional.
- Access to a formal mentor of the fellow’s choice to help them navigate and set goals for the fellowship, assist them in the quality improvement project, and aid them as they enter the job market.
- Standard monthly mentorship meetings and other meetings as needed with the fellows.
- Collegial and friendly work environment where informal mentorship of fellows is expected and maintained from the entire Ethics Program staff.
Other Opportunities in the Fellowship
- Opportunities to observe and participate in differing committees and meetings related to clinical ethics, including Wellstar's Ethics Advisory Group, the organ donation advisory committee, the Institutional Review Board, mortality and morbidity committees, etc.
- Experience in organizational ethics, including ethics policy review and development.
- Active participation in the Ethics Program’s activities, including weekly consult handoff sessions, monthly quality review sessions, monthly trust meetings, the yearly Ethics Forum, etc.
- Ample opportunities for professional development.
If you are interested in learning more about the Wellstar Fellowship in Clinical Ethics, please email one of us below for more information.
Jordan Potter, PhD, HEC-C
Jason Lesandrini, FACHE, LPEC, HEC-C
How to ApplyTo apply for the fellowship, prospective applicants should fill out the appropriate job application at https://careers.wellstar.org in order to be considered for the fellowship (search “Clinical Ethicist Fellow” in the jobs page). The following documents are required as part of the application:
- Curriculum Vitae
- Letter of interest stating why you are interested in this fellowship, your qualifications that make you a good candidate for the fellowship, and your career goals and how this fellowship will help you reach those career goals (Note—if you are applying as an ABD candidate for a pre-doctoral fellowship, in the letter of interest you must also explain your dissertation project and its relation to clinical ethics, its current status and level of completion, your projected timeline for completion, and how you envision integrating your dissertation research into your work here at Wellstar during the fellowship.)
- 1 – 3 writing samples (preferably at least one paper that you have published).
- Names and contact information for at least 3 references for letters of recommendation.
*Send any extra application documents that will not fit into the online application to [email protected].
Strong consideration will be given to applicants with potential for leadership in the field and who are dedicated to the advancement and improvement of professional clinical ethics.
All application materials must be in before the applicant will be considered for the fellowship.