Over the past several years Dr. Larry Garetto, the founding chair of IUSD’s Professional Conduct Committee, has made inroads in the advancement of a formal ethics curriculum here. He will now spend the next year engaging in an in-depth study of ethics and bioethics with particular focus on developing practical expertise in clinical ethics education.
He has been given an administrative “half-load” sabbatical that will end July 31, 2012. “My goal will be to use my sabbatical period to develop the necessary skill and expertise to implement a clinical ‘ethics at chairside’ component to our curriculum,” says Dr. Garetto.
The sabbatical will have clinical, didactic, and research/scholarly components. Dr. Garetto will pursue a professional fellowship in clinical ethics at IU Health’s Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics, located at Methodist Hospital. He will participate in the bioethics certificate program – with an ultimate goal of earning the master’s degree in philosophy – through the IUPUI Department of Philosophy and Center for Bioethics.
Dr. Garetto plans to complete or initiate a series of projects and manuscripts to fulfill the research component. For example, he has a survey collection under way through the American College of Dentists that will explore the beliefs of oral healthcare professionals as to the meaning of professionalism. Another survey is under development with Professor Anika Ball of Loma Linda University that will seek to define the attributes of an ethically healthy practice.
Periodically during the year, Dr. Garetto will work with dental students on site at the dental school to fulfill the remaining “half-load” of his sabbatical commitment. He will maintain, for example, his course directorship of T520 Introduction to Critical Thinking and Professional Behavior and the courses for first- and second-year students that pertain to critical analysis of clinical problems.