SCPP 30300. Introduction to Clinical Ethics

The focus of this course will be an examination of the advances in medicine over the last 30 years that have challenged traditional values, ethical norms, and the institutional processes and procedures in place that facilitate decision-making in the healthcare setting. It will include a sketch of the most recent advances in the various fields of medicine, followed by an examination of the clinical and ethical
 questions they raise and how they have affected the physician-patient relationship. Note: This course counts as a general elective. Course offered in the Fall semester only. 

SCPP 30320. Film and the Physician—Portrayals of Medicine in Film and the Arts

This course will examine the representation of medicine in film, still art, and texts. The point of view will be to examine the interdisciplinary arts, primarily film plus secondary readings of literary texts, with the goal of broadening the understanding of the lives of patients, families, and providers for future healthcare professionals, particularly physicians. The goal is to heighten the awareness of the world surrounding medical encounters and encourage an open-minded approach to people in medical need. Based on Cinemeducation training in medical schools and residency programs, topics examined include delivering bad news, end of life 
issues, medical malpractice, family dynamics, professionalism, cultural diversity, gender issues, grief, balance of professional and personal life, and medical errors.
 Film clips will be introduced and reviewed with specific discussion points. Strong emphasis will be placed on group discussion. Assignments include writing four short papers, leading one discussion, and a writing final paper.

SCPP 30401. Medical Counseling Skills and Patient-Centered Medicine

This course is designed to provide an overview of and introduction to practical training in medical counseling skills and patient-centered medicine.  It is designed specifically for undergraduates interested in careers in healthcare, but can also be helpful for students aspiring to other helping professions.  This course will provide a theoretical and evidence-based foundation in compassionate care and communication skills for patient care.  Emphasis will be placed on clear and professional communication across a wide range of patient care situations.  Patient scenarios are simulated using simulated patient actors. This three-credit hour class, with limited enrollment, will provide opportunities to practice these skills through practical classroom training, outside assignments, and an introduction to the field of compassionate care in medicine as it applies to the medical professions. Offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters.

SCPP 30405. Compassionate Care and the Medical Professions

This course is designed to provide the theoretical and practical foundation for providing compassionate care in the medical professions.  It will provide an introduction to the science of compassionate care in medicine and provide the behavioral and attitudinal components to providing effective patient care, as well as teach how practitioners can be balanced in providing patient care.  Topics include research in the science of compassion, empirical studies relating clinician communication skills with medical outcomes, clinician burnout, compassion fatigue, maintaining caring when encountering with suffering, and physician self-care.  While designed specifically for the future medical professional, the course is also open (as enrollment allows) to students in allied helping professions.  Class material will include research from medical, neuroscientific, psychological, caring science, biological, business, and spiritual sources.  It is cross-listed in the Science, Technology, and Values minor. Offered in the Fall and Spring semesters.

SCPP 30406. Spiritualities of Caring in the Helping Professions

This three-credit hour seminar course is designed to explore how helping professionals articulate, cultivate, and rely on their spirituality or philosophy of caring as they participate in the work of helping and healing others.  We will study how helping professionals rely on a spirituality of caring in order to help them maintain and cultivate their compassion in the face of suffering while encountering the problem of evil. An overall model for a spirituality/philosophy of caring will be presented and then explored as it is exemplified in various spiritual and philosophical traditions. The course is not intended to be an exhaustive survey of all spiritual traditions, but an introductory opportunity for the students to understand the role of spirituality in helping work leading to an articulation of their own spirituality of caring for their future in the helping professions. The course is designed especially for preprofessional students and anyone who is preparing for work in a helping profession.  Health professionals representing various spiritual traditions are invited to give guest lectures on their own spirituality of caring in their various healthcare roles.  We will rely on readings from Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, as well as other traditions and philosophies. We will also will examine writings by people who have reflected on the practical aspects of living out a spirituality of caring. Offered in the Spring semester only.

SCPP 40001. Preparing for Health Professions

This course will prepare students to apply to graduate programs in health professions. Topics covered will include writing a personal statement, framing your experiences, preparing for interviews and examining the specifics of centralized applications. We will also have panel discussions regarding the balance of personal and professional life, the meaning of professionalism, hot topics in healthcare, and how medicine is portrayed in the arts. Satisfactory performance will require completion of Concourse quizzes, written reflections in the form of questionnaires, written organization of experiences, and a draft of your personal statement. This course should be taken the semester preceding your application.

SCPP 40397-01. Capstone for the Minor in Compassionate Care in Medicine

The Capstone project is designed for students to integrate the scientific understanding of compassion along with some sense of its practical implications in the health professions and helping work in general. The Capstone project should demonstrate an advanced understanding of the phenomenon of compassion from its biological, neuroscientific, social-cognitive, and social science perspectives as well as how this is connected to the way this is manifest or impeded in practical application. The Capstone project will need to demonstrate how actual helping dynamics are reflective of the underlying scientific mechanisms. The Capstone project may focus on a variety of examples of compassionate care in exemplifying how the scientific mechanisms of compassion determine the critical dynamics in clinical or other helping work as well as what is required to sustain this type of work on a long-term basis. The student will be required to do a twenty-page paper of the student's own design integrating the courses and experiences of the MCCM minor. The Capstone project must be pre-approved by the Director or capstone advisor. Successful completion of the Capstone project is necessary to receive the Minor in Compassionate Care in Medicine. Permission required. Fall and Spring. Note: This course counts as a general elective and is used to satisfy the capstone project for the Minor in Compassionate Care in Medicine. Offered in fall and spring semesters. Learn More.

SC 43350. Introduction to Hospice and Palliative Care

This 1.5 credit satisfactory/ unsatisfactory graded course is designed to provide undergraduate preprofessional students with an introductory understanding of palliative and hospice care. It is designed specifically for undergraduates interested in careers in healthcare, but can also be useful to students aspiring to work in other helping professions. This course will provide students with an in-depth understanding of palliative and hospice care, focusing on how this care is given in the current healthcare system.  Hospice administrators, physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual care staff, and bereavement therapists are the faculty for the course. Students will also be given an introduction in compassionate interpersonal communication skills, which are needed in caring for people who are in need of palliative care and for people who are dying.  A number of films will be used including the Frontline documentaries, “Being Mortal” and “Okuyamba.”  Learn more.

SCPP 43531-01 Psychology and Medicine 

This course has two basic objectives. First, it examines from a lifespan and psychobiological perspective the factors that place individuals at different stages of life at risk for illness and assist them in maintaining their health. In addition, it addresses a variety of challenging psychological and social issues that physicians and other healthcare professionals must face in the practice of medicine. The course covers a range of topics dealing with health issues related to different stages of human development (childhood, adolescence, and adulthood), disabled populations, culture and gender, stress, physician-patient interactions, death and dying, professional ethics, and social policies relating to health care. The course is primarily intended for students intending to enter medical school. Most classes will involve brief formal presentations by the instructors and invited guests, followed by discussion of assigned readings pertinent to the day's topic. In addition, students will be exposed, via a limited practicum, to a variety of medical settings. Offered in the Spring semester only.

SCPP 46397-01/-02. Introduction to Personalism in Medicine: The Pathos Project

Founded by medical students and physicians in 2005, the Pathos Project stems from a deep concern over the depersonalization of medical care. Compassion, empathy, and attention to the suffering patient are too often left as glaring holes during clinical interactions. While not the sole cause of this failure, deficiencies in medical training undoubtedly contribute to the problem. The Pathos Project recognizes that developing clinical competence is necessary but not sufficient for physicians and responds to this doctor-patient relationship crisis by developing a consciousness of suffering and its contextual interpersonal dynamics.  

This is a 1.5 credit discussion-based class that covers topics such as patient suffering, the skill of being-with as the foundation of patient care, patient-physician relationships, formation of the physician, spirituality in medicine, biomedical reductionism, and humor in medicine.  Dr. Dominic O. Vachon and seven physicians from the local community and around the country facilitate the discussions throughout the semester. Course requirements include reading assigned articles for each class, volunteering at a local site or one where you already volunteer, and writing a five-page reflection/integration paper at the end of the course. 

Preference is given to juniors and seniors, but the class is open to all undergraduates if space is available. This pass/fail course meets on eleven Thursday nights interspersed throughout the semester from 7-8:30 p.m. Offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters.

SCPP 46397-06. Directed Readings

Permission required. Readings focus on learning how patients, families, and healthcare professionals experience illness and healing, how the stories that patients tell become the basis for diagnosis and therapeutic response, what it’s like to go through medical training and grow in identity as a physician, and the nature of the doctor-patient relationship and how it is changing. Fall and Spring. Note: This course counts as a general elective.