NCBC’s Health Care Ethics program

Since September, I’ve been enrolled in the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s Certification in Health Care Ethics program. A bit of background on the NCBC itself:

The National Catholic Bioethics Center was founded in 1972 in St. Louis, Missouri, to provide expert moral analysis in the fields of medicine and the life sciences. The NCBC works to promote and safeguard the dignity of the human person in medicine and the life sciences through education, consultation, research, and publishing, and is regularly called upon to provide medical-moral analyses for health care professionals and institutions, for bishops, and for offices of the Holy See. The NCBC provides more than 2,000 consultations annually and customized seminars reaching thousands of individuals. In addition to serving those in pastoral ministry, the Center’s ethicists advise physicians and their patients on di cult beginning-of-life and end-of-life issues and advise health care systems on highly sensitive issues related to hospital mergers and joint ventures.

I learned of the NCBC’s Certification in Health Care Ethics program a few years ago after I met Dr. John Haas and Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, and when I was at Napa Institute last summer I decided to complete the certificate both for professional and personal reasons.

While the majority of the program has been online through weekly readings and assignments and a thesis paper, we also had an initial two-day seminar in Philadelphia in September. Today we had a closing seminar at the NCBC’s headquarters in Overbrook, just outside of Philadelphia, which included a mock ethics committee to practice evaluating cases and oral exam focusing on the principle of double effect for evaluating morally appropriate health care interventions. Fortunately I didn’t feel any jet lag despite arriving in Center City near 1am from Rome. In the late morning we stepped outside in front of the NCBC’s historic headquarters for a group photo:


It’s something anyone looking to foster a culture of life should consider.