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Ethics, Equity and Justice Scholarly Concentration

Medicine has the capacity for great good or great harm. Disproportionately experienced by marginalized communities, the harm is often perpetrated by well-intended individuals and institutions. This concentration provides the basic skills for separating the morally beneficial from the morally troubling practices of medicine. Additionally, it enables future physicians to better serve and advocate for their most vulnerable patients.

Incorporating rigorous academic inquiry and experiential learning, this concentration covers a range of topics—from clinical ethics to health equity in various communities. By completing this concentration, students join a cohort of like-minded peers and mentors, with rich opportunities for discussion and inquiry through the concentration’s journal club.

The concentration enables students who are interested in epidemiology or community-based research to better understand health inequities. Additionally, for students who are drawn to care for underserved populations by a commitment to social justice, participation in this scholarly concentration will help them in that professional trajectory. The other feature of the Scholarly Concentration in South Bend is the access to mentors from IU School of Medicine, Notre Dame and other community partners who are engaged in and committed to a broad spectrum of topics that fit within this concentration.


All coursework (except the online Fundamentals of Research and Scholarship course) takes place at the South Bend campus. The scholarly project can be done remotely.

Curriculum and Timeline

Students completing the Ethics, Equity and Justice concentration fulfill the same core curriculum as students in other concentrations. The didactic components provide a strong academic and experiential foundation in medical ethics, equity and justice topics that are vital for completion of the core curriculum project and product. The journal club provides a platform for students to have longitudinal discussions about concentration-related topics with a cohort of students and faculty.

Recommended Pathway

Students determine if a concentration pathway will fit in their schedule by contacting concentration co-directors. Actual pathway may vary.

Scholarly Project Topic Examples

Students work with faculty to complete a project in a relevant topic based on student interests. Potential project topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Virtue ethics
  • Clinical ethics
  • End of life care
  • Health disparities
  • Community medicine
  • Social determinants of health
  • Disability ethics
  • Ethics in STEM education
  • Innovations in health access
  • The opioid crisis
  • The science of compassion


Students should reach out to co-directors with any questions about this concentration.

Joe Kotva, PhD

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine

Bio and Contact Information

4780-Fox, Mark

Mark D. Fox, MD, PhD

Associate Dean

Bio and Contact Information

MD Student News

In their words: Scholarly Concentration Q&A with Ethics, Equity and Justice co-directors

In 2019, IU School of Medicine launched Scholarly Concentrations. To help students decide if a concentration topic is the right fit, concentration co-directors shared the inside scoop—from why they got involved in the concentration to how a specific topic can help students reach their goals. Topic: Ethics, Equity and Justice Location: South Bend Co-Directors: Mark Fox, […]

IU School of Medicine  |  Feb 11, 2019