February 1, 2008

Bishop bolsters VUMC’s ethics consultation, education efforts

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Jeffrey Bishop, M.D.

Bishop bolsters VUMC’s ethics consultation, education efforts

Jeffrey Bishop, M.D., has his sights set on improving the quality of ethics consultation and education at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Since coming on board last summer as director of the Clinical Ethics Education and Consultation Service, part of Vanderbilt's Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, Bishop has begun undertaking a needs assessment for ethics consultation and is working with residency and clerkship program directors to enhance education opportunities for medical residents and other graduate students.

“We're working to create a curriculum for graduate students to help ground their research in clinically relevant information,” Bishop said. “We want to help transform the way they look at their research and give them a taste of what the real world is like in terms of medical ethics.”

At the same time, Bishop is focusing on quality improvement through biweekly review of ethics consult cases, which also serves as an educational opportunity for clinical fellows who are graduate students in theology, sociology and philosophy.

“We are very excited to have a physician-ethicist of the caliber of Jeff Bishop join our already strong center,” said Larry Churchill, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society. “Since Jeff's arrival in July, we have already seen a major upturn in the use of the ethics consultation service at VUMC hospitals.”

Ellen Wright Clayton, M.D., J.D., co-director of the center, is also pleased that Bishop has come on board.

“With his tremendous energy, insight and enthusiasm, Jeff is making substantial contributions to clinical ethics consultation at Vanderbilt and to research at the center.”

Trained as an internist, Bishop studied biology and theology, and has always been fascinated by the non-scientific disciplines.

“I'm interested in how medicine relates to society, and the larger political, social and philosophical questions about how medicine influences society and how society influences medicine,” Bishop said.

Bishop has published in areas such as history of medicine, philosophy of medicine, theology and medicine, medical ethics, medical education and medical humanities. He currently serves on the editorial advisory boards of Christian Bioethics and the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.

Bishop studied as an undergraduate at the University of Texas-Austin and the Austin Graduate School of Theology. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas-Houston Medical School and completed his medicine residency at UT-Southwestern in Dallas. While on the faculty there, he ran the Clinical Ethics in Medicine course, an elective in Spirituality and Medicine and, for two years, the Program in Ethics in Science and Medicine. He also received a master's degree in Philosophy from the University of Dallas.

Before coming to Vanderbilt, Bishop spent two years in England, where he was senior lecturer in Medical Ethics and Law at Peninsula Medical School.