Reflections on Medicine


The following modules are available to guide discussion groups in various topics of humanism and medicine. The modules contain citations from relevant medical literature followed by philosophical, humanistic, medical, and ethical questions for discussion by the group.

Please contact us after you download the modules to connect with the Reflections on Medicine team and let us know where the modules will be used. All modules should be properly sourced as original work from

You can make them your own — the modules are here for you as a guide, but ultimately it is up to you to  make your session relevant and meaningful.

Anatomy in National Socialism

Can we judge ethical decisions in history from a modern ethical point of view? Through the lens of German anatomists using bodies of victims of the National Socialist system for anatomical purposes, this module will attempt to explore the ethics of historical practices that are considered unethical from a modern point of view.


History and Ethics
Of Dissection

One of the aims of modern medical school’s dissection course has become the reflection on ethical questions surrounding the dignity of the human body in life and death. In order to understand the ethical implications of the medical discipline of anatomy the study of the history of anatomical dissection can provide relevant insights.


Introduction to The Anatomy Course

This module addresses the topic of dualism and cognitive dissonance experienced in anatomy. The aim of this module is to give students a forum to discuss their feelings, fears, and goals regarding dualism and cognitive dissonance at the beginning of their Anatomy course.


Post Anatomy Course Module

Similar to the "Introduction to the Anatomy Course" Module, this module aims to reflect on the dualism and cognitive dissonance experienced in the anatomy lab. The module, to be used at the end of the anatomy course, will help guide students to reflect on their time in the lab and see if their feelings have changed and if they reached or altered their goals from the original session.


With Friends and Mentors You Are Never Alone

This module aims to emphasize the necessity of a support system from the time one begins medical training and beyond. Friends and mentors are a vital tool in succeeding through medical school, residency and even as a seasoned physician.


Patient vs. State Medical Decision Making

This module explores aspects of autonomy and the balance within the patient-physician relationship over who has the power to make certain decisions. It also raises questions about the state’s role in medical decision-making. Through the lens of HPV vaccination and a pregnant woman’s right to her body and fetus, this module aims to determine if it is ethical for certain health practices to be legally mandated.


Brain Death

This module addresses many ethical questions about end-of-life care and to what extent health care professionals should honor the wishes of family members. The following articles and questions about a pregnant woman and a young teenager pronounced brain dead are designed to help you explore your own opinions about end-of-life care and the impact of state laws on the medical practice.