Duke Medical Ethics Journal
Letter from the Editors
Welcome to the first issue of Duke University’s premier undergraduate Medical Ethics Journal. DMEJ is a publication created by students who are passionate about ethical inquiries in medicine and want to spark meaningful discussions about medical ethics within and beyond the Duke community.
While a significant number of undergraduate students at our university pursue pre-medical studies and continue on to become healthcare professionals, we noticed a persistent and significant lack of emphasis on medical ethics within the pre-medical curriculum here at Duke. In general, top U.S. universities prioritize biology, chemistry, physics, and other STEM classes that are crucial components of the pre-medical curriculum, and usually have clear-cut, indisputable right answers.
This concerns us because in real-world healthcare settings, the daily situations and dilemmas that physicians face do not have clear-cut, indisputable right answers. We believe it is important for prospective pre-medical students to be exposed to this kind of critical thinking and learn how to approach these situations. With earlier exposure to medical ethics in university, they will be better equipped to become physicians that understand how to navigate the ethical dilemmas present in healthcare settings.
The DMEJ team came together because of our shared recognition of the importance of ethics education to more fully and holistically prepare students to enter the medical profession.
In this issue, we seek to cultivate our content specifically around one of the basic tenets of medical ethics: patient autonomy. We hope you enjoy our first issue and that it provokes interest and discussion on the intricacies of medical ethics that will empower you not only as a patient but perhaps even as a future physician.
Megan Zhao & Allison Wu, Editors-in-Chief