Scholars in Ethics and Medicine

General Description:

Scholars in Ethics and Medicine is a yearlong, certificate-granting program that gives a small cohort of students the opportunity to collaborate with exemplar physician-scholars and medical ethicists with the aim of growing into better people and clinicians. Through participation in a series of seminars, lectures, and dinner discussions, students and program leaders will together reflect on and discuss the character traits that define a good health care clinician, understood to imply more than mere technical competence or skill, and strategies for developing them. Additional program activities include meetings throughout the year with program mentors.

Those accepted into the cohort can participate for course credit. Cohort members will have the option to be enrolled in course CCTS21005 /MEDC31005. Students that complete the program will receive P/F credit for the course.

The theme for 2020-2021 program is Virtue, Wisdom, and the Practice of Medicine.

Theme Description:

The practice of medicine focuses on actions that are intended to promote health and healing and to do so in ways that are respectful and compassionate.  To be aimed at health and to be consistent with our ethical obligations, these actions need to be of a certain kind regarding the ends they pursue and the means they employ.  This is to say that these actions need the virtue of practical wisdom, by which we identify the best means to achieve worthwhile ends.  How we understand which ends are worthwhile and which means are best will depend on the virtues that inform our thoughts, sustain our motivations, and enable our vision.  For virtue not only guides how we think and act but also how we see the world and our responsibilities in it.  The Scholars in Ethics and Medicine will together explore deep connections between vision, virtue, and wisdom as they relate health and healing, especially the ways in which they allow us to see patients as whole persons, not only bodies; medicine as a goal-oriented practice, not only a technical power; and healing as a compassionate and competent response to deep human needs, not only wants and preferences.

Program Leaders:

  • Lauris Kaldjian, MD, Ph.D., University of Iowa, Co-Director
  • Mike Hawking, MD, MSc, University of Chicago, Co-Director
  • John Yoon, MD, University of Chicago, Senior Advisor
  • Kathryn Rowland, MD, MPHS, University of Chicago, Mentor
  • Garth W. Strohbehn, MD, MPhil, University of Chicago, Mentor
  • Rajeev Anchan, MD, University of Chicago, Mentor
  • Kathryn Thompson, MS4, University of Chicago, Mentor
  • Max Hawkins, MS4, University of Chicago, Mentor

Application Info:

  • Criteria: All University of Chicago students are eligible to apply.
  • Application: You can access the application here.
  • Deadline: October 5th, 2020.


  • Keynote Seminar
    • Speakers:  Lauris Kaldjian University of Iowa (bio), and Michael Hawking, University of Chicago (bio)
    • Title: Virtue Ethics and Practical Wisdom
    • Date: October 31st, 2020, 9:30am-3:45pm
  • Lecture and cohort discussion 1
    • Speaker: Kathryn Rowland, University of Chicago (bio)
    • Title: What Would a Good Doctor Do? Lessons from the Becoming of a Pediatric Surgeon
    • Date: November 17th, 2020, 5:30pm-7:30p


  • Lecture and cohort discussion 2
    • Speaker: Lydia Dugdale, Columbia University, (bio)
    • Title: Re-Enchanting Medicine: Friendship with Patients
    • Date: January 14th, 2021, 6:30pm-8pm
  • Lecture and cohort discussion 3
    • Speaker: Shellie Williams, University of Chicago (bio)
    • Title: Development of Prognosis Models in the Geriatric Patient
    • Date: February 11th, 2021, 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • Lecture and cohort discussion 4
    • Speaker: Andrea Leep Hunderfund, Mayo Clinic (bio)
    • TitleHow to Train Your Elephant: Practical Strategies to Promote Character Growth
    • Date: March 8th, 2021, 5:30pm-7:30pm


  • Lecture and cohort discussion 5
    • Speaker: Lolita Alkureishi, University of Chicago (bio)
    • Title: Patient-Centeredness in the Digital Age
    • Date: April 1st, 2021, 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • Lecture and cohort discussion 6
    • Speaker: Margaret Plews-Ogan, University of Virginia (bio)
    • Title: Wisdom Out of Adversity: Navigating the Waters of Difficult Circumstance
    • Date: April 12th, 2021, 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • Keynote Seminar
    • Speakers: Lauris Kaldjian, University of Iowa, and Warren Kinghorn, Duke University (bio)
    • Title: TBA
    • Date: May 15th, 2021, 9:30am-3:45p
  • Closing Ceremony:
    • Date: TBA


For more information, please email Zack Loveless:

To see past years’ programs, see the links below.