Pellegrino Student Scholars

Program Description

The Pellegrino Student Scholar Initiative is an inter-professional program for the ethical and professional formation of students, for the purpose of exploring the Center’s distinct approach to clinical ethics. The program introduces students to Dr. Pellegrino’s approach to clinical ethics through reading and discussion with Pellegrino Center faculty. Students also write an essay under the mentorship of a faculty member.

At the center of medical morality is the healing relationship. It is defined by three phenomena: the fact of illness, the act of profession, and the act of medicine. The first puts the patient in a vulnerable and dependent position; it results in an unequal relationship. The second implies a promise to help. The third involves those actions that will lead to a medically competent healing decision. This internal morality of medicine can be applied and adapted to other healing professions. This work is the foundation of our program.

Interdisciplinary education in health professions is valuable for the application of skills in communication and collaboration in the real world. Topics for discussions include: principlism and the patient- healthcare provider relationship; the internal moralities of the healing professions; conscience; healthcare, society, and technological innovation; and the concept of medical futility.

The primary emphasis will be developing critical analysis skills of ethical reasoning by applying the key concepts of Dr. Pellegrino’s philosophy.

One essay, to be selected by the faculty of the Pellegrino Center, will be presented at the annual Pellegrino Symposium, which takes place in the spring of every academic year. This essay may also qualify for submission to other essay contests such as the Academy of Medicine of Washington, DC’s Bioethics Essay Contest and the William B. Bean Student Research Award. In addition, students’ essays will qualify them to be considered for the Pellegrino Bioethics Award that is awarded to a graduating senior with distinguished work in bioethics.

How to apply

The Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics seeks the next generation of student scholars to explore the Center’s distinct approach to clinical ethics. Applications are submitted for the Fall semester of each academic year.

For more information about the program, please contact Dr. Claudia Sotomayor, MD, DBe at