Providence Ethics Center Oregon

Providence Center for Health Care Ethics

2328.6 miles away
503-216-1913

Mailing address: 9205 SW Barnes Rd., Portland, OR 97225

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Providence Center for Health Care Ethics

Mailing address: 9205 SW Barnes Rd., Portland, OR 97225

Join our mailing list

About Us

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. 

Our Vision

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.

Purpose Statement

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.

Core Program

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.

  • Core IA

    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.

  • Core IB

    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.

  • Core ID

    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.

  • Core IIA

    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.

  • Core IIE

    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.

  • Core IIF

    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.

  • Core IIG

    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.

Targeted professional-in-training education

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:

  • Ethics Conferences

    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.

  • Ethics elective rotations

    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.

  • Rounding

    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.

  • Other Collaborative Programs

    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.

  • Funded Lectureships

    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.

Meet Our Team Members
  • Kevin Dirksen, M.Div., M.Sc., HEC-C | Regional Director of Ethics

    Kevin Dirksen is regional director for Ethics and the Andy & Bev Honzel Endowed Chair in Applied Health Care Ethics at Providence Center for Health Care Ethics. His role includes working with the internal medicine and family medicine residency programs for ethics education, as well as providing clinical and organizational ethics consultations throughout the Oregon Region of Providence St. Joseph Health. Kevin engages in clinical ethics research and scholarship, representing the work of the Center in professional publications and conferences.

    Kevin has published in international, peer-reviewed publications on topics including decision-making capacity, public health ethics, palliative medicine, neuroethics, empirical ethics, and clinical ethics consultation. He has lectured on a range of ethical topics throughout clinical medicine and has presented at national and international conferences on surgical ethics, clinical ethics consultation, advance care planning and ethics education.

    Kevin holds an advanced graduate degree in biomedical ethics and a professional graduate degree in theology, specializing in ethics and health. He completed two years of clinical training in health care ethics at the UCLA Health Ethics Center as the Arny & Anne Porath Clinical Ethics Fellow and Senior Clinical Ethics Fellow. He has also earned the Healthcare Ethics Consultant Certification designation from the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities’ Health Care Ethics Consultation (HCEC) Certification Commission.

    Education

    Kevin holds a Master of Science in biomedical ethics, summa cum laude with congratulations from the examination committee from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands and Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy; Master of Divinity from Boston University cum laude; and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Portland.

    A native to the Pacific Northwest, Kevin and his wife live in their hometown of Gresham, Oregon with their four children. For fun, Kevin enjoys taking in nature on hikes, watching Mariners baseball, and reading classics with his children.

  • Kelsi Charlesworth, MS - Program Manager

    Kelsi Charlesworth, MS is program manager at Providence Center for Health Care Ethics. In this role she is responsible for helping to develop and sustain educational programming, services, resources, and other ethics-related initiatives.

    In June 2009, Kelsi joined Providence Health & Services as a research associate for the Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE). She functioned in this capacity for two years. At CORE she worked on the Oregon Health Study, a landmark, state-wide study that examined the effects of health insurance on individuals’ access to and utilization of health care, its effect on family finances, and ultimately its role in improving the health of a population.

    Before joining Providence Center for Health Care Ethics in 2017, she served as program manager for the Supportive Care Coalition where she helped develop palliative care educational programs designed for the interdisciplinary team at Providence Health & Services.

    Prior to working at Providence, Kelsi served as the Foundation Director for the Western Electrical Contractors Education Foundation where she worked with the Board of Trustees to promote Foundation initiatives, and secure grant and corporate funding. She also taught in the Communication Department at Clark College in Vancouver, WA.

    Education

    Kelsi has worked in the non-profit sector for 11 years with nine of those years having been spent in the health care field. She received her Master of Science in Communication with an emphasis in Women's Studies from Illinois State University.

  • Kayla Tabari House, RN MBE - Clinical Ethicist

    Kayla Tabari House is clinical ethicist at Providence Center for Health Care Ethics. Her role involves conducting clinical and organizational ethics consultations across Providence-Oregon, as well as working with the Center team on ethics education.

    Kayla's research interests are focused on life's most powerful transitions, particularly childbirth and hospice care. Kayla continues to publish in the bioethics space. Many of her writings focus on the intersection of maternal-newborn health and racialized health care disparities.

    Kayla began her career as a labor and delivery nurse, where she specialized in therapeutic communication during stillbirth and pregnancy loss. She later hung up her hospital clogs to pursue her dream of studying bioethics in Boston, Massachusetts. Kayla was trained by Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics and the Ethics Center at Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

    Education

    Kayla holds a Master of Bioethics from Harvard Medical School, a Bachelor of Science from the University of San Francisco, and is working on her Ph.D. at Oregon Health & Science University.

    Kayla lives in Washington County with her husband and their cats, Kramer and Jerry. Outside of clinical duties, Kayla and her husband enjoy spending time exploring new local hiking trails, trying new recipes and kayaking together.

  • Christianna Henkel - Coordinator of Ethics Programming

    Christianna Henkel is coordinator of ethics programming at Providence Center for Health Care Ethics. In this role she assists in organizing and supporting the Ethics Core Program and funded lectureships. She joined Providence Center for Health Care Ethics in 2019.

    Christianna began her career with Providence Health & Services in the Patient Service Center at the Regional Core Lab. In her nearly ten years with the lab, she advanced from phlebotomist, to lead, to coordinator, and then supervisor where she managed multiple labs throughout Oregon.

    Education

    Christianna received her Bachelor of Social Sciences from Portland State University with an emphasis in Psychology and Sociology.

  • Eileen Mooney - Administrative Assistant III

    Eileen Mooney, administrative assistant, joined Providence Center for Health Care Ethics in 2012. Prior to coming to Providence, she worked in the development office for thirteen years at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

  • Nicholas J. Kockler, Ph.D., MS, HEC-C | Vice President for System Ethics Services, Theology & Ethics Department, Providence

    Dr. Kockler is the Vice President for System Ethics Services in the Theology & Ethics Department of Providence St. Joseph Health. In this role, he helps to integrate ethical decision-making across the enterprise; his work intersects with Providence’s domestic and global strategic development portfolio, clinical excellence, population health, digital innovation, and research. He supports the ethicists across Providence’s regions in empowering and enabling caregivers and core leaders to identify and address ethical issues.

    Dr. Kockler's research interests center on the intersection of a broad array of disciplines including health sciences, philosophical ethics, theology, and anthropology. He publishes articles and presents papers in health care ethics regionally, as well as nationally, and internationally. Currently, he is authoring the upcoming fifth edition of An Introduction to Bioethics (Paulist Press).

    Dr. Kockler holds an interdepartmental doctorate in health care ethics as well as other graduate degrees in philosophy and biotechnology. He has also earned the credential of Healthcare Ethics Consultant - Certified from the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities’ Health Care Ethics Consultation Certification (HCEC) Commission.

    Education

    Dr. Kockler holds a Doctor of Philosophy in health care ethics from Duquesne University, a Master of Science in biotechnology from Northwestern University, a Master of Arts in health care ethics and a Bachelor of Arts in theology from Loyola University Chicago.

    Originally from Chicago, Nick lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two boys. He spends his time hiking, camping, biking, and raising urban chickens. He also enjoys spending time with his boys in Cub Scouts, practicing contemplative photography, and engaging in graphic design.

  • Affiliate Faculty

    The Ethics Center collaborates with affiliate faculty for select educational programming opportunities. Affiliate faculty assist Center staff in teaching content related to their expertise. Various educational opportunities may be co-taught with affiliate faculty.

  • Emeritus Faculty

    As outlined in the Ethics Advisory Board’s motion, this honorary designation is awarded to an individual who demonstrates a distinguished career as an employee of the Center for Health Care Ethics for a minimum of ten years and marked by:

    • a commitment to service excellence and integrity;
    • a commitment to the professional development of caregivers at PSJH;
    • a commitment to the Mission and Core Values of PSJH, and contributions to fostering an ethical climate at PSJH.

    Presently, only one person has earned the distinction of Emeritus Faculty:

    Reverend John F. Tuohey, PhD

    Through generous contributions to Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation, the Endowed Chair in Applied Health Care Ethics was established in 1998 to ensure the presence of ethical expertise in medical education within Providence Health & Services in Oregon. (Rev.) John F. Tuohey, PhD, became the first holder of the chair, and subsequently was named the regional director of Providence Center for Health Care Ethics when it was established in 2000.

    Over time, the influence of the Chair grew because Fr. Tuohey extensively worked with clinical teams and leadership on challenging ethical issues, developed targeted education opportunities for physicians and a core curriculum ethics education program, and held informal lunch sessions to help caregivers learn about ethics in health care. Over his tenure at Providence, many physicians and caregivers have benefited from the educational and consulting services provided by Fr. Tuohey and his team at the ethics center.

    Fr. Tuohey was instrumental in creating a unique decision-making matrix for clinical and organizational discernments, and he helped the state of Oregon develop a matrix for decision making in a pandemic situation. His scholarship and leadership represented Providence at the International Conference on Clinical Ethics Consultation and increased visibility of the ethics center around the world, including hosting this ethics conference in 2010 for 400 participants from 27 countries. Fr. Tuohey also engaged in ethics research and scholarship, representing the work of the center in professional publications as well as national and international conferences.

    After 18 years with Providence, Fr. Tuohey retired from his position as senior director at the Center for Health Care Ethics and returned to pastoral service on the East Coast. In October 2017, the Ethics Advisory Board endorsed his Emeritus Faculty designation at the Center for Health Care Ethics of Providence Health & Services in Oregon in gratitude for his incomparable contributions to the field and to the ministry of Providence. The center would not be the treasure it is without the work of Fr. Tuohey as the Endowed Chair.

Providence Center for Health Care Ethics provides ethics consultation in the following areas:

Clinical

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.

Organizational

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.

Disaster planning

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.

The Allen M. Boyden, MD Memorial Lectureship

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.

The Goldman-Berland Lectureship in Palliative Medicine

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.

The Curtis R. Holzgang, MD, MACP Visiting Scholar Lectureship

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.

View recent presentations

Reference library

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.

Ethics posters and tools

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.

Presentations

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.

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