Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities

Glossary

Following are key terms and definitions related to bioethics and medical humanity to help build a common understanding.

Bioethics

A discipline that includes theoretical and practical approaches to the ethics of interacting with all living things, from all areas of medical ethics to the ethics of research.

Clinical Ethics

A practical discipline that provides a structured approach to help healthcare providers identify, analyze, and resolve ethical issues in clinical medicine.

Research Ethics

The ethics of the planning, conduct, and reporting of research, includes protection of human and animal subject.

Bioethics Scholarship

Bioethics scholarship includes a broad range of academic approaches and topics. It includes overarching theories about how medicine could or should be practiced, empirical work surveying what current practice actually looks like, and case reports of instructive single events.

Medical Humanities

An interdisciplinary field of medicine which includes the humanities (e.g., literature, philosophy, history), the values-oriented social sciences (e.g., anthropology, sociology, law) and the arts (e.g. theater, film, poetry, graphics), and their application to medical education and practice.

Professionalism

The habitual and judicious use of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, emotions, values, and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of the individual and community being served.