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Distinction in Bioethics

This program is intended to recognize and support Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School students who show exceptional involvement, accomplishment, and scholarship in bioethics. We conceptualize “bioethics” to be an inclusive term, so that students with varied interests (clinical ethics, public health ethics, global health ethics, research ethics, health issues in public policy, etc.) will be able to engage a supportive community of scholars and mentors.

Students will distinguish themselves by assuming a significant level of responsibility in planning, implementing, and completing a project in bioethics that is rigorous and scholarly. Students who are accepted into this program and who fulfill all requirements as certified by the Distinction in Bioethics committee will receive diplomas at Commencement stating that they have graduated with “Distinction in Bioethics”. Students who complete the program before August 1st of their graduation year will also have their achievement recognized in their Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) letter.

Students are encouraged to express interest in the program by the spring semester of their first year or during the summer between first and second years. As the didactic component can be fulfilled across the medical school curriculum, students can also express interest later in their studies. Projects submitted in fulfillment of any other degree cannot be used in whole or part as fulfillment of the requirements for the Distinction in Bioethics program. All proposed projects will be reviewed, monitored, and evaluated by the Distinction in Bioethics Faculty Committee.


  • Didactic component – Students must complete a non-credit Bioethics elective by attending a minimum of 10 Distinction in Bioethics events over the course of 4 years. Eligible events include: monthly RWJUH Ethics Committee meetings, annual Stahl Memorial Lecture in Bioethics, annual Rutgers Bioethics Society symposium, and any ethics-related lectures by Distinction in Bioethics faculty.
  • Practicum component A – Students must complete a 1 (or more) week elective in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (MED 9500).
  • Practicum component B – Students must participate in at least 2 bioethics consultations in the hospital along with the attending.
  • Capstone project – Under the guidance of a Distinction in Bioethics faculty mentor, and approved by the Committee, students must complete a project of their choice within the realm of ethics. This project may take the form of:
    • A written manuscript submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal
          - Review article, commentary, or original research
    • A written thesis
    • A public lecture

For Additional Information Contact

Eric A. Singer, MD, MA

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Director, Kidney Cancer Program
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Director, Distinction in Bioethics Program
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
(732) 235-2043