The new center represents a natural evolution of the previous Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program, which has supported interdisciplinary work and reflection on human values in medicine for more than 25 years. It will be listed as one of the centers in the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM).
“Understanding the challenges and consequences of human disease as they relate to the practice of medicine is a natural interface for biomedical research, education and advocacy,” said Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for Medical Affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean. “The establishment of the new Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities represents the natural broadening of medical center interest and the increased visibility of bioethics in the activities of our faculty and trainees.”
“Kelly has extensive experience in the arena of bioethics,” he said. “It is an excellent fit not only with her clinical research, but also with the mentorship she engages in with trainees and the care she gives to patients and their families in the pediatric intensive care unit.”
Dr. Michelson, an associate professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Critical Care, joined the Feinberg faculty in 2004. She is an attending physician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where she is a member of the ethics advisory board, serves on the institutional review board and leads monthly ethics discussions.
“Bioethics and medical humanities fill a vital need by allowing people to consider our humanity alongside the miracles and advances of medicine,” Dr. Michelson said. “I look forward to providing a home for the amazing work that exists and for the future work that will shape the lives of our students, faculty, patients and healthcare providers. I’m grateful for the chance to participate in this effort.”
Dr. Michelson earned a master of public health degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1996 and a medical degree at Duke University in 1997. She completed a pediatrics residency at the University of Chicago in 2001 and a fellowship in pediatric critical care at Children’s Memorial Hospital, now known as Lurie Children’s, in 2004. She also completed a fellowship in clinical medical ethics at the University of Chicago MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics in 2010.
Her research focuses on communication and decision-making in end-of-life care among patients, family caregivers and professional caregivers in the pediatric intensive care unit. She is currently the principal investigator of a study on this topic that is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Last month, she wrote an article for the Washington Post addressing how schools can help children cope with death and dying.
“My hope for the center is to build on the existing foundation by extending the reach of educational programing across the medical school and involving trainees at all levels,” Dr. Michelson said. “I look forward to amplifying the voice of all the bioethicists within the medical center and supporting a cross-disciplinary approach to engaging in bioethics and medical humanities.”