Alden March Bioethics Institute Introduces Unique Online Doctorate Program


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Alden March Bioethics Institute Introduces Unique Online Doctorate Program

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August 27, 2012 - Albany , NY

ALBANY, N.Y., August 27, 2012-The Alden March Bioethics Institute (AMBI) at Albany Medical College has begun offering an online bioethics doctorate program emphasizing clinical ethics consultation, the first of its kind in the United States.

The AMBI Doctor of Professional Studies (D.P.S.) degree concentrates on clinical ethics consultation so that students will gain the expertise to handle a wide range of ethical dilemmas faced in the health care system. The program was designed specifically for working health care professionals-physicians, nurses, social workers, lawyers, and chaplains who possess a master's degree in bioethics or equivalent. 

Bruce D. White, D.O., J.D., director of AMBI, emphasizes that while the online doctorate program is a novelty, it may become a necessity. "While advances in medicine and medical technology have provided great benefits to society, some have also left us with difficult questions and choices. Data shows that there are over 40,000 clinical consultations occurring in American hospitals every year. These often involve complex and emotional issues that require particular knowledge and skills, yet less than 5 percent of health care workers engaged in clinical ethics consultation have formal training."

These ethical dilemmas can include questions surrounding end-of-life care, what to do when patients request medically inappropriate treatments, and how to assist vulnerable adults and children. Part of the program will involve a series of case studies gleaned from students' interactions with ethical dilemmas in their own workplace.

Wayne N. Shelton, Ph.D., the new program's director, said that the online doctorate program should be a welcome alternative to degree programs in which students need to spend one to two years full-time on-site. "We recognize that this is not feasible for many busy health care professionals seeking to advance their careers and knowledge base," he said.

One of the pioneers in providing bioethics in medical education, the Alden March Bioethics Institute at Albany Medical College was founded in 1993 to provide medical ethics education, develop an ethics consultation service, and promote high quality, useful research and scholarly works on important ethical issues. AMBI's programs include required coursework in medical ethics for Albany Medical College students, an on-site and online master's program in bioethics, and a Scholar's Program in Bioethics for medical students. AMBI operates a full-time ethics consultation service at Albany Medical Center Hospital for physicians, nurses and other health care providers, patients and their families.

For more information, call (518) 262-6423, e-mail or visit:

Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York's only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 651-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region's largest physicians practice with 350 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region's health and quality of life. For more information: or


Media Inquiries:

Sue  Ford

(518) 262 - 3421

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