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Ethics and Society Practicum

Students undertaking the practicum spend one day per week during a semester shadowing professionals who are engaged in services that require ethical decision-making. Relevant ethics and society coursework and/or experience relevant to the organization with which you wish to work is required. Throughout the semester, students will meet collectively on a weekly basis to discuss their experience and plan their projects. Below are descriptions of our current practicum sites.

Download a copy of the practicum experience and participating sites.

Global Bioethics Initiative

Practicum Site: Global Bioethics Initiative

Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI) is a UN-affiliated international,non-profit organization co-founded by Ana Lita, PhD and Charles Debrovner, MD. With offices overlooking the United Nations headquarters in New York City, GBI is dedicated to fostering public awareness and understanding of bioethical issues,as well as exploring solutions to bioethical challenges. GBI achieves its mission via four goals:

  1. Promoting interdisciplinary research and providing the public with information pertaining to bioethical issues;
  2. Engaging a broader audience in public debates on emerging technologies and their potential impact;
  3. Collaborating with policy makers, including those at the United Nations (UN) and its agencies to identify solutions to global health problems, and
  4. Encouraging international debates at the intersection of health, biotechnology and medicine.

GBI organizes periodic focus groups, workshops, panel discussions, and conferences to facilitate public understanding of current bioethical issues impacting us all. GBI leverages the knowledge and experience of experts and other professionals in government, academia, and private industry, as well as its Board and Advisory Board members.

The four focus issues of primary concern at GBI are:

  1. Human organ transplantation and trafficking
  2. Ethical issues surrounding end-of-life
  3. Ethical issues related to assisted reproductive technologies (ART)
  4. Regenerative medicine and healthy aging

St. Barnabas Hospital

Practicum Site: St. Barnabas Hospital

St. Barnabas Hospital is a not-for-profit, nonsectarian, acute care community hospital and Level I Trauma Center located in the heart of the central Bronx. The expanding St. Barnabas healthcare network provides high-quality inpatient, outpatient and emergency medical, mental health and dental services throughout the Bronx.

  • 461 beds
  • Admits 25,000 patients annually
  • State-designated Regional Trauma Center; authorized to treat the most critically ill and severely injured patients
  • Child Advocacy Center provides multi-disciplinary forensic interviews and diagnostic evaluations for children who are suspected of being abused or neglected; provides community education to ACS, police departments, schools and other community providers
  • Adolescent medicine and teenage prenatal care
  • State-designated AIDS Center featuring comprehensive medical care and case management; in addition, we provide perinatal services for HIV+ women and newborns
  • National St. Barnabas Community Center of Excellence in Women's Health
  • An Emergency Department staffed exclusively by full-time physicians who are residency trained and Board certified in Emergency Medicine
  • Pediatric emergency services staffed by physicians Board certified in pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine

Visit the St. Barnabas web site for the latest information about the hospital.

Student Requirements:

  1. Attend practicum site one day per week (approximately five hours) for one semester
  2. Attend weekly practicum class meetings at Fordham University
  3. Meet with the program director on a regular basis to discuss the practicum experience, rotation transitions, and any hospital-related issues
  4. Completion of the practicum project
  5. While St. Barnabas is a teaching hospital and the physicians expect and welcome student questions, comments, and discussion, students must be proactive in seeking out learning opportunities; St. Barnabas staff will provide guidance on ways to maximize the benefit of the experience
  6. Prior to beginning their on-site projects students will be provided information on St. Barnabas’ institutional rules and regulations; students are expected to comply with rules and regulations relevant to their activities at St. Barnabas

To maximize exposure to a breadth of ethics relevant hospital services,over the course of one semester, for their field experience students will rotate through five services (see description below). Additional services may be added depending on student interests and hospital resources.

Fordham University Institutional Review Board.

Practicum Site: Fordham University Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The IRB at Fordham University works cooperatively with researchers in the Fordham community to assure that standards are met for the conduct of research with human subjects. We work with investigators to modify projects so that adequate protection is ensured for its subjects' welfare and right of self-determination.

Visit the IRB website for more information about this office. Visit the Center's IRB Resource page for more information about IRBs

Generation Citizen

Practicum Site: Generation Citizen

Generation Citizen was founded in 2008 with the belief in the power of the democratic spirit in which individuals come together to make a collective difference in their communities. Generation Citizen empowers young people to become engaged and effective citizens.

The organization strengthens our nation’s democracy by empowering young people to solve problems in their own communities through a rigorous action-civics course. Semester-long programs are led by a partnership between trained college-student volunteers, known as Democracy Coaches, and secondary school teachers. 

Democracy Coaches work in a middle or high school classroom twice a week for the duration of the semester teaching the curriculum and working with students to help them achieve their chosen class goal.

Middle and high school students focus on issues and topics that are relevant to their lives and employ critical-thinking and strategic decision-making skills to effect positive change in their communities. Generation Citizen’s goal is for every student to experience a “moment of empowerment” where they see firsthand the strength of their voice and commitment and recognize their responsibility to be an effective and engaged citizen.

The Democracy Coach is responsible for lesson preparation, implementing lessons, conducting research, preparing research for student use, and reaching out to community leaders whose experience is relevant to the students' project. 

Past student project topics include:

1. Police/community relations
2. Access to healthy food
3. Safety on public transit
4. Gang violence
5. Affordable housing
6. LGBTQ youth homelessness
7. Health and environment

Visit the Generation Citizen website for more information.

Harlem United

Practicum Site: Harlem United

Harlem United is a community health center focused on caring for under served populations in New York City. The mission of Harlem United is to provide 100% access to quality HIV/AIDS care for all clients, regardless of race, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation. Harlem United seeks to ensure that each client remains connected to treatment and obtains the best possible health outcomes; provide quality HIV prevention,housing, and care services in a safe and nurturing environment; empower clients physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually; unite Harlem’s diverse communities and address the needs of all people living with and threatened by HIV/AIDS.

Harlem United offers a range of services including: Primary care doctors,Dentists, Individual & family counseling, HIV & STI testing and prevention education, Sexual health counseling, LGBT support groups, Care coordination for low-income people living with HIV, Adult Day Health Care Centers, individual counseling, group sessions, job training, hot meals, peer support and more.

Harlem United also engages in policy work by promoting policy platforms and advocacy strategies which seek to elevate health and social justice issues and remove barriers to community health and well-being. Their advocacy is comprehensive; yet organized around three overarching principles: ‘An ounce of prevention’; ‘Primary Care + Public Health = Community Health’; and ‘Housing is healthcare’. The issues they address include: HIV prevention and testing;Access to Hepatitis C care and services; LGBT Health; Support for the Ryan White Care Act; Expanded eligibility for city housing program HASA; 30% RentCap; Supportive housing.

Families and Work Institute

Practicum Site: Families and Work Institute

Families and Work Institute is a leading nonprofit research organization based in New York City specializing in generating data (including research design, collection, and analysis), developing reports and recommendations, and disseminating findings that inform policy and law related to workplace, family and community. Widely cited in the media, Families and Work Institute's influential research focuses on four broad themes: The Changing Workforce/Workplace, Early Childhood, Supporting Work Project, and Youth.

Current and recent projects include

National Study of the Changing Workforce
Mind in the Making
School-based Health Care Project
Ask the Children: Youth and Engagement Learning
Ask the Children: Youth and Violence
9/11 as History

Please visit www.familiesandwork.org for more information about current projects.

National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

Practicum Site: National Jewish Center on Learning and Leadership

Established in 1974, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (Clal) is a leading think tank, training institute, and resource center. Clal’s faculty and scholars, representing a wide variety of disciplines, engage in high-level scholarship, education, and consultation. Clal collaborates with leaders, businesses, and organizations to create and improve programs, policies, and practices with moral and ethical implications,and work frequently with leaders within the health care, legal, business, policy, and education arenas. Their influential and thought-provoking work engages leaders, scholars, practitioners and the general public to encourage pluralism and promote diversity. Clal scholars and leaders partner with a wide range of individuals and organizations to infuse spiritual and religious wisdom in addressing a variety of professional, religious, and ethical challenges. Scholars at Clal publish widely on a variety of topics and are sought after to comment on current issues of contemporary social importance in highly visible radio, television, and print media outlets.

Registration and Requirements

How to Register for The Practicum:

The practicum is taken as one of the electives for the ethics and society degree. Registration for this course (CEED 5900 for 3 credits) is only by permission of the director of the master's program. Students wishing to work with an organization other than those listed above should contact Celia Fisher, PhD, Director of the Center for Eethics Education, at least one semester prior to their intended practicum start date.

Practicum Experience: The practicum course has 3 components: field experience, weekly meetings of the practicum students, and an independent project. Students will spend one day per week (approximately five hours) at practicum site, focusing on one rotation per day. Students are also expected to attend weekly Ethics & Society Practicum class meetings held at the Rose Hill campus to discuss assigned readings, their practicum experiences and plan their independent practicum project. This project should be associated with their practicum experiences and complementary to their interests and course and professional background. When appropriate, students may spend additional time at practicum site completing their practicum projects. Students interested in this practicum experience must meet with the director of the MA Ethics and Society program, Bryan Pilkington, to discuss the appropriateness of the practicum for the student. 

Student Requirements:

  1. Attend practicum site one day per week (approximately five hours) for one semester
  2. Attend weekly practicum class meetings at Fordham University
  3. Meet with the program director on a regular basis to discuss the practicum experience, rotation transitions, and any hospital-related issues
  4. Completion of the practicum project