Teaching Ethics

Teaching Ethics

Welcome to the Teaching Ethics Stream discussion thread.  The aim is to provide a platform to enable discussions on topics that are pertinent in teaching ethics, curriculum design, innovative methods of delivery and research.


AAHBL Teaching Stream Webcast: How do you teach ethics?

The aim of this series is to share knowledge, approaches and techniques for teaching health law and ethics. Each webcast has a guest presenter and will be asked a series of questions about their approach to teaching health ethics and law. Watch the following episodes with guest speakers:

Stream Leaders

Hudson Birden

Hudson Birden was an Associate with the Sydney Health Ethics (formerly Centre for Values, Ethics, and the Law in Medicine (VELiM))  at the University of Sydney, one of the leading bioethics think tanks and research institutes in Australia, from 2012 until 2020. He has also

  • developed and taught Legal Response to AIDS at the University of Connecticut School of Law from 1990 to 1997
  • taught public health ethics as part of the introductory unit in public health (Public Health Achievements and Challenges) in the Univerity of Sydney MPH program from 2009 until 2019.
  • developed a course (unit) on Ethics and Health Law at the University of Hartford School of Nursing in 2012 and taught that until 2018.
  • been Chair of the Townsville University Hospital and Health Service Human Research Ethics Committee. This committee is the first, and so far only ethics committee in Australia to be accredited by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for all levels of approval, including up through Phase I-III clinical trials.

Relevant publications:

Birden H, Glass N, Wilson I, Harrison M, Usherwood T, Nass D. Defining professionalism in medical education: A systematic review. Medical Teacher 2014;36(9):47-61.

Birden H, Usherwood T. “They liked it if you said you cried”: How medical students perceive the teaching of professionalism. Medical Journal of Australia 2013;199(6):406-9.

Birden H, Glass N, Wilson I, Harrison M, Usherwood T, Nass D. Teaching professionalism in medical education: A Best Evidence in Medical Education (BEME) systematic review. BEME Guide No.25. Medical Teacher 2013;35(7):e1252-e66.

Mary Claire Balnaves

Mary-Claire Balnaves has been a Clinical Lecturer in the School of Nursing at Queensland University of Technology since 2017. She develops and teaches leadership and cultural safety units that have a strong component of professionalism, ethics and social justice. She recently completed her Master of Bioethics at the University of Sydney and is a convenor of the Qld Chapter of AAHBL’s Health, Ethics and Law (HEAL) Discussion Groups.

Relevant Publications

Downing, S., Dean, J., Mainey, L., Balnaves, MC., Peberdy, L., Peacock, A., and Cappiello, J. (2020). Reflections: Unintended pregnancy prevention and care education – are we adequately preparing entry-to-practice nursing and midwifery students? [online]. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 27, (1), 32-33.

Moynihan, K.M., Taylor, L.M., Crowe, L., Balnaves, M.C., Irving, H., Ozonoff, A., Truog, R., and Jansen, M. (2020). Ethical climate in contemporary paediatric intensive care. Journal of Medical Ethics0, 1-8.

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