Internships

Two internship options are available for students interested in the field of Bioethics: Summer Internships sponsored by the Institute for Practical Ethics and the Bioethics Internship Seminar, detailed below.

With the help of generous start-up grants from the Dean of Arts & Sciences and the Donchian Foundation, the Bioethics Program currently offers approximately ten undergraduate Bioethics Internships each semester.  This program typically places students in such clinical services as:  Neonatal ICU, AIDS Clinic, Cancer Genetics, Adolescent Medicine, Rural Primary Care, Chaplains' Office, Geriatrics, Emergency Medicine, Hospice, and the Charlottesville Free Clinic.  Each student is attached to a clinical mentor who is responsible for exposing the student to the practices and ethical problems of his/her field.

In addition to spending at least 4 hours per week in her or his clinical setting, each student concurrently enrolls in a Bioethics Internship Seminar (RELG 423).  The seminar is by Margaret Mohrmann, a distinguished  professor of pediatrics in the medical school and holder of a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from UVa.  It focuses on topics that tend to cut across the borders of the different internship placements, such as:  Doing ethics in a clinical setting; the experience of patienthood; the sociology of the modern hospital and medical training; and the pragmatics of case consultation.  Each student is required to do a certain amount of reading and do a research project focusing on a problem or issue presented during their internship.  Students then present the results of their work, usually focused on a case, to the full seminar.  Mentors usually attend these sessions.

This course is designed to provide students with experience in discerning and analyzing ethical issues as they arise in particular clinical settings. Each student will spend one half-day each week in a clinic or other health-care-related setting (the same setting throughout the semester) under the mentorship of a health care professional engaged in that setting. Seminar time will focus both on the role of the ethicist/observer and on the particular issues that commonly arise in clinical medicine; during the second half of the semester, students will give presentations related to their specific areas of observation.  Students are expected to have some background knowledge of bioethics methods and common questions.

Application for Bioethics Internships:  

Entrance to this internship program is by application only .   If you wish to apply,  please email Prof. Arras your responses to the following questions at <jda3a@virginia.edu>. Please place your name in the subject line along with "internship app" -- e.g., "Joe/Jane Smith - internship app"

1) Name, e-mail, year, major/minor

Remember, preference will be given to graduating 4th years who are minoring in bioethics, doing an interdisciplinary major, or who have done well in at least one upper level bioethics elective.  It is extremely rare for 3rd years to gain admission; such students need to present very special circumstances.

2) What relevant courses (from which professors) have you taken to prepare you for this experience --  e.g., in philosophical and/or religious ethics, political philosophy, bioethics?  Be sure to list the grades you received in such courses.

Because this course is run as a seminar, we look for applicants who can reliably make good contributions to discussion.

3) Why do you wish to take this course?  How do you see it fitting into your academic and/or career plans?

Some preference will be given to students with an interest in pursuing some sort of health-related career -- e.g., nursing, public health, medicine, health law, etc.  Premed drones, who are solely interested in buffing their resumes and getting into medical school, not encouraged to apply.

4) What are your preferences for placement from the following list of likely medical units? 

   Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

   Pediatric ICU

   Medical ICU

   HIV clinic

   Teen Health Center

   Palliative Care

   Liver/Kidney Transplant Service

   Prenatal Genetics Counseling

   Emergency Department

   Cancer Center

   Chaplaincy Service