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Course Directory

Vulnerability in Childhood From Ethics to Advocacy

East Baltimore
4th term
Berman Institute (Bioethics)
3 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Synchronous Online with Some Asynchronous Online
Class Times:
  • Friday,  1:30 - 4:20pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
Penny White

Have you ever wondered what makes a population vulnerable and how that vulnerability impacts their well-being? We have all come across vulnerable populations of children in our community or heard about them in the media-- children removed from their parents at the border, children with severe disability, children exposed to opioids, children living in poverty. But what do we really know about these children, the ethical challenges they face, and how to advocate for them?

Introduces students to the concept of vulnerability from an interdisciplinary lens of ethics, philosophy, medicine, and public health. Discusses how special protections for vulnerable populations can impact research and clinical care at the individual and population level. Presents examples of vulnerable populations of children (eg. children with medical complexity, children in foster care, children at the border, children impacted by the opioid epidemic, transgender youth) in order to illustrate relevant ethical challenges faced by vulnerable populations. Introduces students to written media (eg. op-ed, letter to the editor) as a tool to advocate for vulnerable children.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the concept of vulnerability from an ethics perspective
  2. Recognize the special protections that relate to vulnerable populations
  3. Examine the barriers to research and clinical care for vulnerable populations of children
  4. Evaluate the ethical issues faced by different subpopulations of vulnerable children
  5. Create written media in order to advocate for vulnerable populations
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 25% Participation
  • 15% Written Assignment(s)
  • 20% Midterm
  • 40% Final Exam

Enrollment Restriction:

Priority enrollment given to MBE students. No undergraduates permitted to enroll.

Instructor Consent:

No consent required