September 06, 2017

Law, medical students to examine ethical issues

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale first-year professional and graduate students will confront and discuss critical and ethical legal and medical issues together later this week at the SIU School of Law. 

The 235 students will be part of the 22nd annual Interdisciplinary Professional Responsibility Day from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building. Participating students are from the SIU School of Law, the SIU School of Medicine and the medical degree program and the medical school’s physician assistants program. 

Students from each of the three programs break into small interdisciplinary groups of eight to 10 people and discuss a hypothetical case that will involve physicians and attorneys. At about 10:45 a.m., the students gather in the law school auditorium for a faculty panel discussion on the case. Each of the students receives different information about the same client, so when they gather into their small groups each has a different perspective to offer, Jennifer Brobst, assistant professor, SIU School of Law, said.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to the professional panel and large group discussion that will start at 10:45 a.m. in the law school auditorium. Students and faculty will be available for interviews at noon. For more information, contact Jennifer Brobst, assistant professor, SIU School of Law, at 618/453-8702, or Alicia Ruiz, the law school’s director of communication and outreach, at 618/453-8700.

The panelists include:

  • Brobst, who is also an assistant professor in the SIU School of Medicine.
  • Dr. Gloria Debeljuk, assistant professor, Clinical Family and Community Medicine, SIU School of Medicine-Carbondale.
  • John Erbes, assistant professor and director of clinical and experiential education, SIU School of Law.
  • Dr. Gerald McClallen, emergency medicine, Southern Illinois Health Care.

Christopher Behan, professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the law school will provide welcoming remarks. The School of Law and School of Medicine each requires the program, Brobst said, noting the event is part of the law school’s first-year Professionalism and the Law class. Over the years, cases have involved bioethics, challenging social dilemmas, and life-and-death decision-making. The event is one of the university’s largest, longstanding interdisciplinary events, she said.

“It was progressive then and it is progressive now. For students who learn their fields in isolation, the reality of practice is that they have to work with other professions,” she said. “This is an interesting way at the beginning of their education to understand that relationship and learn the ethical strategies needed in helping a patient.”