The Discipline of Medical Ethics, Law and Professional Practice is headed by Dr Sarah Winch and conducts teaching and research activities encompassing the ethical basis of medical practice, medical professionalism, and the legal and social frameworks in which medicine is practised. The discipline is an integral part of teaching and research within the medical program. 

Teaching activities

The Discipline of Medical Ethics, Law and Professional Practice (MELPP) teaches four courses in Phase 1 over years 1 & 2 of the MBBS Program (Ethics and Professional Practice 1 & 2), and contributes to teaching in the Phase 2 clinical rotations.

Ethics and Professional Practice 1 & 2

These courses introduce students to the fundamental concepts necessary for an understanding of the ethical basis of medical practice, medical professionalism, and the legal and social frameworks in which medicine is practised. This understanding develops in an integrated way as students begin to develop their basic clinical and communication skills. Students begin to learn that some aspects of medical practice are the subject of a strong ethical consensus, while others are matters of considerable debate or even deep social division. Students' learning experiences challenge them to begin to critically appraise the goals of medical practice and their own values. They are also introduced to the idea that medicine is both an academic enterprise and a social practice, such that success requires the demonstration of basic and applied scientific and clinical knowledge, clinical competence, and satisfactory professional conduct.

Research activities

MELPP is a research intensive discipline with research activity focussed on the intersection of ethics, law, and professional medical and health practice. Staff within the Discipline are active in research and collaborate with a network of key national and international partners. Our research findings and results influence practice standards and policy at local, state and national levels.  

Research is conducted across the following broad research themes:

  • Bioethical Theory 
  • Medical Education 
  • Clinical Ethics
  • Research Ethics
  • Health Law
  • Professional Practice

Research supervision 

MELPP staff have expertise in RHD supervision across a broad array of disciplines and methodologies including:

  • Positivist/ post-positivist (scientific)
  • Post-structuralism and Critical Theories
  • Legal Interpretivism
  • Critical & Reflexive Ethnography
  • Philosophy: of law, of medicine, meta-ethics and meta-physics

Staff are supervising projects related to:

  • Palliative and End of Life Care, Medical Futility
  • Ethics and Law of Health care involving Children (including babies)
  • Human Research Ethics
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Organisation and Policy Analysis
  • Patient Safety

Contact

Dr Sarah Winch
Head, Academic Discipline of Ethics, Law and Professional Practice
Address: Mayne Medical School, 288 Herston Road, Herston, Brisbane, QLD 4006
Phone: +61 7 3365 5049
Email Address: sarah.winch@uq.edu.au