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Acad Pediatr. 2013 Nov-Dec;13(6):570-6. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2013.07.009.

Teaching and assessment of ethics and professionalism: a survey of pediatric program directors.

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Medical Education Research, Innovation, Teaching and Scholarship Program, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Ill; MacLean Center for Clinical Medial Ethics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.



The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires residency programs to provide instruction in and evaluation of competency in ethics and professionalism. We examined current practices and policies in ethics and professionalism in pediatric training programs, utilization of newly available resources on these topics, and recent concerns about professional behavior raised by social media.


From May to August 2012, members of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors identified as categorical program directors in the APPD database were surveyed regarding ethics and professionalism practices in their programs, including structure of their curricula, methods of trainee assessment, use of nationally available resources, and policies regarding social media.


The response rate was 61% (122 of 200). Most pediatric programs continue to teach ethics and professionalism in an unstructured manner. Many pediatric program directors are unaware of available ethics and professionalism resources. Although most programs lack rigorous evaluation of trainee competency in ethics and professionalism, 30% (35 of 116) of program directors stated they had not allowed a trainee to graduate or sit for an examination because of unethical or unprofessional conduct. Most programs do not have formal policies regarding social media use by trainees, and expectations vary widely.


Pediatric training programs are slowly adopting the educational mandates for ethics and professionalism instruction. Resources now exist that can facilitate curriculum development in both traditional content areas such as informed consent and privacy as well as newer content areas such as social media use.


ethics; graduate medical education; pediatrics; professionalism; residency

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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