Providence Center for Health Care Ethics
Mailing address: 9205 SW Barnes Rd., Portland, OR 97225 /
Providence Center for Health Care Ethics
Mailing address: 9205 SW Barnes Rd., Portland, OR 97225 /
Providence Center for Health Care Ethics was established in 2000 to serve the ethics consultation, education and scholarship needs of Providence Health & Services in Oregon. While seeking to distinguish itself as a theological center addressing ethics across the continuum of care, the center contributes to excellence in patient care by providing the highest-quality ethics education, consultation, research, and scholarship.
Providence Center for Health Care Ethics and its staff reveal God's love for all, with particular attentiveness for the poor and vulnerable, by promoting human dignity, the common good, and social justice in the diverse communities of Providence Health & Services through the center's services and programming.
The center aspires to help transform technical skill and expertise into professional practices in health care through ethics and the medical humanities. That is, the center strives to cultivate prudence, integrity and peace in care delivery, insurance provision, and other institutional activities and decision-making.
Relative to Providence's core strategy of Creating Healthier Communities, Together, the center embraces its role in inspiring and developing caregivers and core leaders in service to the Mission and Core Values of the organization. Following a 'theology of encounter,' the center seeks solidarity with all those who confront the full range of ethical issues in health care from the bedside to the boardroom as well as outside the bricks and mortar of health care. The center aspires to bear prophetic witness to call attention to those whose future is most at risk and to rally remedies to their vulnerabilities.
The center was established in 2000 on the campus of Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, an acute care teaching hospital and houses an endowed chair in applied health care ethics. Providence Center for Health Care Ethics contributes to excellence in patient care by providing the highest-quality ethics education, consultation, research, and scholarship.
While seeking to distinguish itself as a theological center addressing ethics across the continuum of care, the center particularly focuses on ethical issues in the care of patients of diverse faith, spirituality, and cultural traditions.
Providence Center for Health Care Ethics offers a variety of programs for physicians, residents, nurses and other Providence caregivers, providing participants an opportunity to explore and examine the challenges in health care ethics.
The basic philosophy toward ethics education can be summarized as follows: ethics education helps to transform the technical skill and knowledge caregivers possess into therapeutic relationships and professional practices. In our educational opportunities, we aim to enhance the ethical components of each profession’s competencies.
The Core Program is designed for physicians, nurses and all other Providence caregivers. Modules cover ethical principles and explore key topics encountered in clinical practice.
Provides the ethical infrastructure and Providence approach to understanding ethics in health care, and introduces participants to the Providence model for ethical decision-making. It also includes a discussion of case studies on topics such as clinical conflicts, patient decision-making and professionalism.
Explores through case-based discussion, the principle of respect for autonomy and its application in health care decision-making. Topics covered include decision-making capacity and assessment, surrogate decision-making models and identification of an appropriate surrogate.
Offers insights into special topics in health care ethics through a Lunch & Learn series. The Center’s faculty selects topics and schedules events annually in coordination with the chairs of the local ethics committees and Mission Integration.
Builds on IA and focuses on harm reduction and how to balance these principles and arrive at a care plan that can be ethically justified. It explores the care of patients whose behaviors – both health-related and otherwise – present significant challenges for providing clinical benefit and even maintaining a therapeutic relationship.
Builds on IA and focuses on ethical issues in end of life care, and emphasizes key ethical principles across a variety of clinical scenarios. Topics include life-support withdrawal, code status, medically administered artificial nutrition, dialysis, pain management and issues of cross-cultural communication.
Provides background and understanding on the use of advance care planning materials, advance directive or POLST form, and when these documents and other sources may be used to guide care in challenging cases. A key component of this work is the exploration of case studies and relevant learnings from clinical practice.
Analyzes cases in traditional and evolving frameworks, and introduces a language that that better equips the naming and addressing of injustices that result in poor health. Explores the ways in which a social medicine framework can promote just health care and advance health equity, as well as transform bioethics into an effective ally for social justice.
We provide ethics education for the medical residencies, pharmacy residency, and clinical pastoral education program at Providence. The learning opportunities occur across a variety of settings and formats including, but not limited to:
Cover a broad range of themes and topics from professionalism issues such as truth-telling, confidentiality, moral distress, and clinical empathy to elements of decisional capacity, end-of-life decision-making, difficult encounters with patients and more. For the medicine residencies, topics for ethics-related conferences follow a three-year cycle, which offers residents the full scope of ethics across all six physician competency domains.
Offer participants an immersive experience in the work of ethics at Providence. This exposes residents to the broad range of settings and questions encountered by ethicists in ethics consultation, discernment and leadership meetings.
Ethicists round routinely to provide real-time support, as well as to prepare for focused teaching sessions or ‘ethics rounds.’ These are opportunities for caregivers to explore questions or issues that they may not have a chance to discuss otherwise.
Ethicists are available for as needed in-services and presentations for targeted audiences including specific nursing units, departmental meetings, etc. Additionally, we work with Providence Medical Education to host scholars for medical grand rounds several times a year. These presentations may be viewed in-person or online.
The Ethics Center has three funded lectureships: one addressing ethical issues in health care, the second speaking to issues in palliative care, and the third designated to humanities in health care. These lectureships are named in honor of exemplary physicians from Providence.
Providence Center for Health Care Ethics staff offers clinical ethics consultation for caregivers, patients, and families throughout the Oregon Region.
Providence Center for Health Care Ethics provides ethics consultation in the following areas:
We strive to demonstrate through quantifiable evidence that ethics consults can enhance patient safety and quality of care, reduce the risk of medical error, create efficiencies and contribute to an environment of ethical leadership.
With two full-time ethicists on staff, Providence Center for Health Care Ethics offers clinical ethics consultation for caregivers, patients, and families throughout the Oregon Region.
To ensure quality and consistency in care, we developed a model for clinical ethical decision-making. It includes four areas of concern: A typical consult may involve: Identifying appropriate surrogates, clarifying patient wishes, addressing concerns related to protecting a patient or third party, reviewing issues related to professionalism, and respecting cultural and religious diversity.
- Clinical Integrity - Honesty in the delivery of health care
- Beneficence - Dependability to benefit patients
- Autonomy - Fairness to patient in the context of their lives
- Justice/Nonmaleficence - Accountability to other obligations
An ethics consult can be obtained urgently by paging the center staff or routinely through EPIC. Patients or families who desire an ethics consult are encouraged to notify a member of their care team or to contact the Center directly at 503-216-1913.
Providence Center for Health Care Ethics has developed a decision-making matrix for the ethical discernment of business and organizational practices. This matrix seeks to assure integrity in these decisions by exploring honesty in the pursuit of our Mission, reliability in our commitment of the common good, fairness in the impact on stakeholders and partners, and accountability for our justice concerns and our historical and Roman Catholic tradition. Ethical discernments are facilitated by hospital Mission directors or Ethics Center staff.
Providence Center for Health Care Ethics, in cooperation with the Oregon Medical Advisory Group, has developed a decision-making matrix for use in a pandemic or other high-casualty event. This matrix explores accountability for the key values of social solidarity, adherence to professional standards and justice, along with each values characteristics and related ethical issues.
Allen M. Boyden, MD was a well-respected and world-renown leader in local and national arenas who worked as a surgeon at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center for 48 years. One of his greatest attributes as a physician and surgeon was his ability to find wholeness in the doctor-patient relationship.
The Allen M. Boyden Memorial Lectureship promotes holistic approaches to and excellence in patient care. It provides a forum in which to explore aspects of medicine and the humanities that will enrich and challenge physicians in the pursuit of fineness, human values and ethics. The lectureship gives a context in which alternative, but parallel fields of creative endeavor illuminate approaches that practitioners can apply.
This lectureship brings to Providence Health & Services experts whose ideas are inherent to the definition of integration. The lecturer need not be directly associated with the field of medicine but is committed to the basic tenets of the doctor-patient relationship – trust, empathy, faith, sincerity, honesty, love and sorrow – which do not change regardless of how society or government view health care.
Established in 2006, the Goldman-Berland Lectureship in Palliative Medicine honors two exemplary role models in palliative care, Robert Goldman, MD and John Berland, MD.
These physicians have been recognized by devoted patients and colleagues for their outstanding whole-person patient care and for being advocates and innovators in palliative care. Dr. Goldman was a medical oncologist who helped initiate the Providence Home Hospice Program in the 1970s. Dr. Berland, a retired general internist, remains passionate about palliative care and physician education. His aspiration is that every Providence clinician knows how to provide exceptional care for patients with advanced chronic, life-limiting or terminal illnesses.
The Goldman-Berland scholar is a clinician recognized nationally for excellence in palliative and end-of-life care.
Established in 2002, the Curtis R. Holzgang, MD, MACP Visiting Scholar lectureship honors an exemplary role model in medical ethics.
The Visiting Scholar lectureship is a program of Providence Center for Health Care Ethics named for Dr. Holzgang, emeritus faculty, Internal Medicine Residency at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. During his tenure as director of critical care medicine, Dr. Holzgang was an inspiration in ethics education, especially for internal medicine residents and nurses working in critical care. He is a master teacher who instructs by example and instills enthusiasm for bedside rounds and a deep appreciation for the caregiver-patient relationship. The Oregon Chapter of the ACP recognized Dr. Holzgang with the 2010 Laureate Award for his devotion to, and modeling of, the highest ideals of doctoring.
Dr. Holzgang was instrumental in establishing Providence Center for Health Care Ethics in 2000. The center is a recognized leader in advancing the role and value of ethics in health care. It contributes to excellence by providing ethics education to all health disciplines, consultation across the continuum of care, and research and scholarship on key ethical issues.
The Duncan and Cindy Campbell Reference Library was dedicated on May 9, 2013. Located at Providence Center for Health Care Ethics on the campus of Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, the library was established for research by providing ready access to journals, books, and recorded lectures–both paper and online–for all within the Providence family.
As part of Duncan and Cindy’s commitment to inspire others, they have contributed to the establishment of this library. This extensive collection focuses on theology, health care ethics, cultural competency and palliative care.
The reference library can be accessed by visiting during business hours or by contacting the center.
See our collection of posters and tools presented at professional conferences. These files are made available for the benefit of those involved in health care; they are protected by copyright.
Providence Center for Health Care Ethics is pleased to offer video recordings of our educational events on select topics in health care ethics and palliative care.
As a courtesy, all viewings are free, thanks to the generous donors of Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation.
- American Society for Bioethics & Humanities
- Catholic Health Association
- Forum for Behavioral Science in Family Medicine
- “Help is Here: When someone you love has dementia”
- Oregon Health & Science University Center for Ethics
- Reading the Signs of the Times: A Timeline of Church Teachings