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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 CourseSites and the webinar program WebEx. 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.

Applying for course

Our application deadline for 2020-2021 is Monday, December 16, 2019. Tuition for 2020-2021 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 2020 and May 2021 and the cost of books. For more information, e-mail Vanessa Watkins or contact

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.   

Important Dates for 2020-2021

  • The opening session will be held over September 11-13, 2020 at Children's Mercy in Kansas City. This session will be held from approximately 1 p.m. on Friday until 1 p.m. on Sunday.

  • The closing session will be held May 6-8, 2021, at Children's Mercy in Kansas City. This session will be held from approximately 1 p.m. on Thursday until 1 p.m. on Saturday.

  • There are several weeks off through the year including one week in the fall, three weeks in the winter and one week in the spring. 

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 2019-2020 is December 16, 2019 at 5 p.m. CST. For more information, e-mail Vanessa Watkins or contact

Scholarship information