gms | German Medical Science

12th Graz Conference – Quality of Teaching

18.09. - 20.09.2008 in Graz, Österreich

Including ethical issues in medical education at the Medical University of Innsbruck - Current status and an interdisciplinary endeavour

Round Table/Runder Tisch

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12. Grazer Konferenz - Qualität der Lehre: Skills and Attitudes. Graz, Österreich, 18.-20.09.2008. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc08grako14

doi: 10.3205/08grako14, urn:nbn:de:0183-08grako149

Received: January 15, 2009
Revised: February 5, 2009
Accepted: February 18, 2009
Published: April 6, 2009

© 2009 Werner-Felmayer.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.

Round Table Discussion/Diskussion am runden Tisch

At the Medical University of Innsbruck – which used to be the Medical Faculty of the University of Innsbruck until 2004 –, the so-called new syllabus of human medicine (master degree) was initially introduced in the winter term of 2002/03 and received various modifications over the past years. It comprises three parts: the first one consists of two semesters and aims to familiarize students with the medical profession. The second and third part, each consisting of five semesters, are dedicated to theoretical and practical issues of medicine and to impart clinical practice with increasing intensity throughout the whole study. A basic intention of the syllabus is to train the student’s competence for lifelong holistic learning. Some basics of bioethics are included in the first semester in the module UKM (Umgang mit dem kranken Menschen, Dealing with sick people). At more advanced stages, ethical and bioethical considerations are integrated in some of the courses, e.g. in Genetic Epidemiology, Transplantation Surgery or Skills for Medical Conversation. Courses like Good Scientific Practice or Ethics and Misconduct in Biomedicine are included in the PhD programme for Masters of Science or Medicine.

The recently established education platform Ethucation (, which is the Austrian unit of NIMED, an international network for advancing medical ethics teaching in medical training operated by the UNESCO chair in bioethics in Haifa, is following two major goals: first, to improve awareness of and reflection on bioethics (which includes but goes beyond medical ethics) and, secondly, to achieve this by a strictly interdisciplinary approach integrating various scientific methods and building up a dialogue not only between the expert and the public but also among experts of different fields, like medicine, sciences, philosophy, economy, jurisprudence, social sciences, psychology and others. To this end and beginning in the winter term 2008, a lecture series will be held by speakers from different disciplines and a seminar will be offered in which various aspects of clinical problems will be addressed by a clinician/scientist and an expert of another field (either from humanities, law or economy). Further goals and activities of Ethucation and some of the emerging problems, mostly of administrative nature, will be shortly summarized.