Division of Medical Ethics High School Bioethics Project
New biotechnologies have outpaced our ability to understand their implications. In the face of future advancement, NYU Langone’s Division of Medical Ethics offers educational measures to address the challenges these innovations present to our lives.
The High School Bioethics Project was established by Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, in 2001 at the University of Pennsylvania. This unique educational outreach effort is an extension of his philosophy to engage the public—a cornerstone of his career—spread truth, and change people and their behavior. In 2012, the project moved to NYU Langone and became part of the Division of Medical Ethics.
Over the course of its lifetime, the High School Bioethics Project has worked toward bridging curricular voids between high school life sciences and humanities courses as well as tackling the gap between academic research and public knowledge.
High School Bioethics Project Objectives
We provide freely available, downloadable educational content and an internship program, through which experts typically mentor two high school students every summer.
Organized into two types of online textual resources—lesson plans and learning scenarios—our content is structured as lesson guides that high school teachers can integrate into their existing life science curricula. To produce resources that are both intellectually rigorous and easy for students to understand, we use a unique development process in which high school interns partner with division faculty and staff to construct lesson plans on students’ chosen topic areas.
Intern capstone projects, polished by input from experts in the division, reflect the knowledge student interns gain during the program. The content we provide is well-balanced and has received only positive feedback from its users.
Our Lesson Plans and Learning Scenarios
Our collection of lesson plans and learning scenarios advises educators and students on nearly every hot-button bioethics topic, including genetic testing, stem cells, vaccines, physician aid in dying, organ donation, assisted reproduction technologies, climate change, and more.
At an individual level, we believe integrating bioethics instruction into high school classrooms equips future generations with the skills necessary for addressing the ethical and policy choices in healthcare that lie ahead. More broadly, it illustrates how technological creations can impose threats to our daily lives.
When teachers use our materials and allocate time and space to bioethics instruction in their classrooms, they create an atmosphere that encourages students to apply their own individual experiences, morals, and values to the concepts they learn. Fostering this culture not only brings ethics to life, but gives students the confidence to participate in conversations taking place in the greater scientific community.
High School Bioethics Project Team
Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, Project Director
Lisa Kearns, MS, MA, Associate Director
Selected High School Bioethics Resources
Following are selected high school bioethics media and resources available from other reputable institutions and organizations: