Jun 22, 2024  
2023-2024 College Catalog 
2023-2024 College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

BIO 250 - Biomedical Ethics

3 Credits, 3 Contact Hours
3 lecture periods 0 lab periods

Introduction to the nature and scope of decision making in public health, medicine and health care, as it relates to bioethical issues. Includes overview of dilemmas in bioethics, legal, social and ethical issues in human genetics, the beginning of life, and the end of life. Also includes life and death decisions, human organ transplantation, and regulations of human research.

Prerequisite(s): WRT 101 WRT 101HC WRT 101S ,or WRT 101SE 
Gen-Ed: Meets AGEC - HUM and I, C, G; Meets CTE - A&H and C, G.

Button linking to AZ Transfer course equivalency guide  

Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Understand the ethical and philosophical principles of bioethics and apply them to contemporary moral problems in science, medicine, health care, and environmental research.
  2. Develop skills of critical analysis and dialectical thinking used in (a) identifying and analyzing ethical dilemmas; (b) understanding processes of human decision-making; and (c) in forming and defending positions.
  3. Examine bioethical issues in light of human assumptions and bias and their influence on decision-making process.
  4. Examine bioethical issues in light of gender and racial inequality and demonstrate cultural competence and humility in viewing biomedical ethics through the lens of different cultures.
  5. Reflect on the ethical responsibility towards society at the local, national, and global levels.

Performance Objectives:
  1. Describe the underlying philosophical positions and assumptions of ethics.
  2. Identify core biomedical ethical principles and be able to apply them when evaluating bioethical dilemmas.
  3. Identify the values which are the foundation of health care decisions, and distinguish personal from professional views.
  4. Demonstrate critical reasoning skills and be proficient in formulating well-reasoned oral and written arguments and be able to examine ethical dilemmas from the viewpoint of those that disagree with you.
  5. Demonstrate inter-cultural humility in recognizing and evaluating ethical dilemmas.
  6. Examine ethical responsibility locally, nationally and globally.
  7. Discuss the legal, social, and ethical issues arising from our understanding of human genetics and epigenetics.
  8. Discuss the potential for human genetic engineering and its ethical implications.
  9. Examine the 20th century eugenics movement, and discuss its implications for the 21st century.
  10. Examine the institutions and structure of health care and how health and medical resources are allocated locally, nationally, and globally.
  11. Consider how we determine personhood and when human life becomes a person and how this influences biomedical decisions.
  12. Discuss cultural, ethical, and legal outlooks on death and how this influences biomedical decision involving the end of life.
  13. Discuss the pros and cons of these specific topics: death and dying; euthanasia; personhood; abortion; reproduction; genetic counseling and screening; artificial intelligence technology; environmental studies research; international and cross-cultural perspectives; health and human rights; and the translation of bioethical dilemmas into broad public policy.

  1. Intensive Writing and Critical Inquiry  
    1. Producing written discourse in more than one assignment through papers, reports, quizzes, tests, etc., which includes a minimum word standard of 3000 words
    2. Written assignments emphasize critical inquiry which includes the gathering, interpreting, and evaluating evidence
    3. Formal out of class paper of at least 1,500 words which requires critical inquiry and where the writer develops and supports a main idea
    4. Explicit writing instruction with timely feedback to help students improve their writing and critical inquiry skills is part of the course’s content
    5. The evaluation of written assignments must include the overall quality of written work and critical inquiry, as measured by a rubric
    6. At least 50% of the student’s grade must be based on the written work and critical inquiry assignments
  2. Fundamental Principles of Bioethics
    1. Ethical principles
      1. Autonomy
      2. Non-maleficence
      3. Beneficence
      4. Justice
      5. Truth-telling
    2. Inductive, deductive arguments and logical fallacies
    3. Cultural competence
      1. Implication of cultural bias and gender and racial inequality
      2. Examination of biomedical ethics through the lens of different cultures
    4. Local and global ethical responsibility
      1. Examination of how power relations are embedded in communities
      2. Implications of local power and economical structure of global communities
  3. Legal, Social and Ethical Issues in Human Genetics
    1. The human genome project
    2. Genetic information and confidentiality
  4. Human Genetic Engineering
    1. Gene therapy and gene editing  
    2. Reproductive and therapeutic cloning
  5. Eugenics
    1. The eugenics movement in the United States
    2. Biological basis of race
    3. Sterilization
  6. Allocation of Medical Resources
    1. Justice, equity, and equality
    2. Socioeconomic issues
    3. Geographical issues
    4. Age
  7. Medical Decision-Making
    1. Informed consent, autonomy, and paternalism
    2. Confidentiality
    3. Disagreements between physician and patients/family
    4. Making decisions for others
  8. The Beginning of Life
    1. When does human life become a person?
    2. Abortion
    3. Reproductive technologies
    4. Embryonic and fetal stem cells/tissue
  9. The End of Life/Defining Death
    1. Death by brain criteria
    2. Right to die
    3. Euthanasia and the prolongation of life
    4. “Dead donor” rule and expanding classes of organ donors
  10. Scientific and Biomedical Research
    1. Human subjects
    2. New therapies
    3. Orphan diseases
    4. Artificial intelligence
    5. Environmental studies

Effective Term:
Full Academic Year 2019/2020