Center for Bioethics
Children in the United States are healthier today than children have ever been, anywhere, for all of human history. Throughout the past hundred years, we have eliminated, controlled or learned to treat many dreaded and fatal childhood diseases. We have vaccines for measles, mumps, polio, whooping cough, chicken pox and meningitis. We can do surgery for congenital heart disease, transplant livers and kidneys, and cure many childhood cancers.
These truly are the days of miracles and wonder in children’s hospitals. Yet, there are still many treatment efforts that do not lead to cures. Today, we can save children’s lives, but the survivors are left with complex, chronic conditions. Premature babies have chronic lung disease, visual impairment or cerebral palsy. Cancer survivors have heart disease or hormone deficiencies. Babies born with congenital anomalies or inborn errors of metabolism must take multiple medications for the rest of their lives.
Teaching Bioethics Knowledge and Expertise
Pediatricians, children, and parents may disagree about the values that should inform the difficult decisions that must be made. In such situations, emotions often run high as well-meaning people disagree about what is best for a child. Sometimes, everybody is simply perplexed. Doctors and families need help to understand the source of conflicts and work constructively to resolve disagreements for the best care of the child.
Children’s Mercy Kansas City has made an extraordinary commitment to build a pediatric bioethics center. We are working with clinicians and families to identify ethical dilemmas and respond to them. We are teaching others through publications in medical journals, through presentations at national and international meetings and through the nation’s first certificate program in pediatric bioethics.
Through the generous support of the Claire Giannini Fund, we offer an annual, one-year fellowship in Pediatric Bioethics. Fellows will participate in all clinical, educational, and research activities of the Center. They will also complete a mentored research project on a topic of their choice in pediatric bioethics.
Learn more about the fellowship
Pediatric Bioethics Certificate Program
We offer a nine-month pediatric bioethics certificate program. The program begins in September each year with an intensive three-day weekend on-site in Kansas City. For the rest of the program, students and faculty discuss assigned readings online and through periodic conference calls and webinars.