Leader in medical ethics commends School of Medicine

The UMKC School of Medicine has long been a leader in instilling professionalism and ethics throughout its teaching environment.

Medical schools that excel in teaching professionalism are the exception, not the rule, said David Doukas, M.D., Tulane School of Medicine chair of humanities and ethics in medicine and director of the school’s program in medical ethics and human values.

Doukas delivered the annual William and Marjorie Sirridge Lecture on March 1 during which he applauded the school’s program of medical humanities and bioethics.

“We have to have a curriculum that teaches medical learners how to integrate what their role is as a scientist with the application of medical ethics and humanities to promote patient welfare,” Doukas said.

William Sirridge, M.D., and his wife Marjorie Sirridge, M.D., two of the school’s founding docents, established the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities in 1992. It offered what was recognized as a unique program among medical schools in its approach to providing medical students classes that tie together medical arts, bioethics and humanities. Renamed the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics in 2008, the program instills medical humanities and bioethics throughout its six-year curriculum.

“Both of the Sirridges had the passion and vision for weaving the medical humanities into clinical medicine, into medical education, and they were both trailblazers and advocates,” School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., said. “Their vision allowed them to be mentors and serve as role models for all of us. They were the heart of the School of Medicine in our early days and they had a lasting legacy that will never be forgotten.”

Doukas said medical schools need leaders to implement curriculums that teach medical students and residents to integrate their role as a scientist with the application of medical ethics and humanities in a way that promotes patient welfare.

He commended the School of Medicine for having such a program.

“You have a large palette of medical humanities courses, you have experiences and role modeling that oversees the professional identity formation for all of your learners,” Doukas said. “You are to be applauded.”