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Abstract

Objective: Ethics education is an essential component of educational preparation for health care professionals. Learner-centered pedagogy can assist in the development of curricula that actively engage and challenge learners appropriately. This article describes a method for developing a case-based ethics curriculum that highlights the 5 areas of dietetics practice. Methods: A critical incident reporting technique was adapted to solicit real ethical dilemmas facing nutrition professionals in their daily practices. Educators ranked the reported dilemmas for importance in a nutrition curriculum, discussed appropriate use in selected courses, and linked the dilemmas to the American Dietetic Association’s Code of Ethics. A representative curriculum was developed and further critiqued for content and design by selected experts both in nutrition education and in curriculum design. Results: Ninety-nine practitioners and 127 educators participated in the development of a learner-centered case-based ethics curriculum, representing a cross-section of the nutrition professionals with regard to gender, age, race/ethnic origin and highest academic degree. Applications: The curriculum developed can be a resource for educators to reinforce ethical decision-making early in students’ professional education and training. A similar curriculum development process could be used to develop case-based resources for the education of health care professionals in all areas and at all levels of training, including professional development.

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