Barbara Birriel, Penn State’s first Dual-Title Ph.D. Program graduate in Nursing and Bioethics, was accepted as a fellow at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago for academic year 2021-22.
“This fellowship offers a great opportunity to expand my knowledge and research in clinical ethics,” said Birriel, an assistant research professor at Penn State’s College of Nursing. “In the Dual-Title Ph.D. Program, I learned a great deal about the broad discipline of bioethics, and I have subsequently applied this knowledge to my work in nursing as a clinician, researcher, and instructor. Through the MacLean Center fellowship, I will focus on clinical ethics with an eye toward strengthening the connection between academic bioethics and bedside practice. Specifically, I plan to continue my research on family surrogate decision-making from the perspectives of families, patients, and clinicians.”
The MacLean Center’s program is the oldest and largest clinical ethics fellowship in the world, founded in 1981. The program has received the Cornerstone Award from the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities and the Meyerhoff Award from the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. While most fellows are physicians, multiple disciplines are represented, including nursing, law, theology, philosophy, and the social sciences. The fellowship involves a four-week summer intensive, as well as weekly sessions and research projects in clinical medical ethics throughout the academic year.
“We are utterly delighted for Professor Birriel, as this is a tremendous honor that most certainly will move her research forward and position her as a leader in the field,” said Michele Mekel, interim director of Penn State’s Bioethics Program. “We are also excited about what she will bring to the MacLean Center program, as a multidisciplinary, multi-modal professional in nursing and bioethics with expertise in clinical practice, research, and teaching.”
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