Empower the Helpers

Lindsey Lee ’19 saw a problem: Not enough people in health care had ethical training. She also saw a solution—create an easy way for hospital volunteers to get into ethical thinking.

Working with clinicians and professors taught Lindsey Lee ’19 how ethics improve healthcare. The exposure came as she interned in the Health Care Ethics Internship sponsored by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

“Sometimes those ethical moments in medicine are really quiet,” she says. “Why do we spend extra time with that patient? We are not just clinicians here to diagnosis you. We are here to help patients from all angles.”

Lee’s excellence as a junior-year intern earned her the Honzel Fellowship, letting her delve deeper into healthcare ethics as a senior.

Now in the working world as a brain trauma researcher, Lee asks questions—“Is this OK? Why are we doing this”?—because she knows the ethics.

She also sees an important population that needs courses in medical ethics, too: volunteers.

Hospital volunteers are often in positions to see things and ask questions, but unlike Lee, they aren’t usually trained to notice those details.

“They are often high school students or undergraduates,” Lee says.

It’s an education gap Lee is filling with Ann Mongoven, associate director of Health Care Ethics at the Center, by creating an online ethics education module for healthcare volunteer training.

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