Consultation-liaison psychiatrists on bioethics committees: Opportunities for academic leadership

Department of Psychiatry, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87108, USA.
Academic Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 0.81). 10/2006; 30(5):416-21. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ap.30.5.416
Source: PubMed


This article briefly reviews the history of the relationship between psychiatry and the leadership of ethics committees as a background for examining appropriate educational initiatives to adequately prepare residents and early career psychiatrists to serve as leaders of ethics committees.
A Medline review of literature on psychiatry and ethics committees and consultation as well as recent survey data from the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine indicate that psychosomatic medicine psychiatrists are particularly qualified and interested in serving as chairs of ethics committees. The authors compare knowledge and skills obtained in psychiatric training with the Society for Heath and Human Values and the Society for Bioethics Consultation Task Force on standards for ethics consultation proposed as core competencies for ethics committee leadership.
Psychiatric residency and fellowship training in psychosomatic medicine can provide the knowledge and skill sets to meet the standards for ethics consultation. Further professional development through pursuit of formal ethics training, advance degrees in bioethics, mentoring, and residency and felloships focus on ethics and enhance competency, confidence, and the skills required for ethics committee leadership.
Academic psychiatrists, particularly those in psychosomatic medicine, have historically made a significant contribution as chairs of ethics committees. Continuation and expansion of this leadership may require interested psychiatrists to obtain additional training in bioethics.

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