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Certificate Program

The Children's Mercy Center for Bioethics offers the only pediatric bioethics certificate program in the world. Students will become knowledgeable in pediatric bioethical issues such as the role of ethics committees, ethics consultations, futility and moral distress, end-of-life decisions, research ethics, and much more.

Program highlights

The nine-month course begins and ends with an intensive three-day session in Kansas City, in September and May. For the rest of the year, students and faculty discuss assigned readings primarily via an online discussion board and attend periodic webinars. The program uses the online learning management system Canvas and the webinar program Microsoft Teams. Technology requirements include access to a computer with high speed internet access, webcam and audio capabilities to be involved in webinars.

About Kansas City

Kansas City is a vibrant metropolitan area. The Children's Mercy Bioethics Center is located in the Crown Center district and is connected to two adjacent hotels, the Crown Center Westin and the Sheraton Kansas City at Crown Center. Children's Mercy Hospital offers a discounted rate for our students to both hotels.

Apply to the Children’s Mercy Certificate Program in Pediatric Bioethics

Application criteria

  • The program is designed for experienced child health professionals. Generally, that means that people have been clinically active in their discipline for at least 3-5 years.

  • We favor people who have already shown an interest in bioethics and who are actively engaged in activities at their home institution. This could mean involvement in a hospital ethics committee, IRB, teaching ethics or other discipline/inter-disciplinary ethics activities. Applications should explain the nature of their involvement.

  • We favor people who, in their application, explain how they plan to use the expertise that they gain through the program. This could mean that they will take a leadership role at their institution, that they will teach, or that they are interested in research and writing about particular topics.

  • We like to see that there is institutional support for bioethics. In letters of support, we look for evidence that the applicants may take on a larger role in the institution in the future.

Application eligibility requirements

  • Earned bachelor’s degree.

  • Proficiency with the English language and excellent communication skills.

  • Access to a high-speed internet connection and willingness to engage in distance learning (and receive additional training as needed).

  • Experience with pediatrics in a clinical, research and/or policy/administrative setting.

  • Experience and interest in pediatric bioethics.

Application deadline

Applications are accepted for the nine-month term beginning Sept 2022 and concluding May 2023. Tuition is $10,000 for the nine-month interdisciplinary program. Applicants must cover travel expenses to Kansas City for the opening and closing sessions in September 2022 and May 2023 and the cost of books. Materials are due Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2021 by 5 p.m. Central Standard Time.

How to apply

  1. Carefully review the Children’s Mercy Bioethics Center Certificate in Pediatric Bioethics website.

  2. Complete and submit Children’s Mercy Bioethics Center Certificate Program Application. Any technical questions should be directed to Administrative Director Vanessa Watkins at

  3. When completing the application, include the following:

    • A personal statement: one page, single-spaced, 12 point font, one-inch margins. Your statement can answer questions such as “Why do you want to pursue this program? What is your experience in bioethics and pediatrics? What do you plan to do with your training following the program? What institutional support is in place to help you be successful? What attributes do you have that distinguish you as a good candidate?”

    • Names and contact information of two people, who we will contact for letters of recommendation to complete your application. The recommender will receive an email from the Bioethics Center to send the email with the letter of recommendation. Letters are typically written by the applicant’s supervisors, colleagues, or professors.
    • resume/curriculum vitae is required.

For more information, please contact Vanessa Watkins at (816) 731-7207 or or We look forward to receiving your application!

Scholarships for clinicians in developing countries

We have a limited number of tuition-waiver scholarships for students in developing countries. In addition to sending in the program application and CV, scholarship applicants should send in two letters of recommendation and a one-page essay describing their interest in pediatric bioethics. Our application deadline for 2022-23 is Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021 at 5 p.m. CST. For more information, e-mail Vanessa Watkins or contact