WORK TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
DIGITAL MARKETING INTERNSHIP
The Completed Life Initiative (“CLI”) is a 501(c)3 non-profit offering a course of independent study in collaboration with Columbia Law School. This independent study program seeks 2nd and 3rd year law students who are interested in issues in healthcare law, bioethics, and public policy, specifically focused on end-of-life rights advocacy.
Within this independent study, students will learn to advocate for the legal, regulatory and policy status of selected end-of-life bioethics issues; identify similarities and differences in the ways that courts, legislators, policy makers, and scholars in bioethics approach these issues; describe the relationship between law and bioethics, and in particular the impact that American law has had on patient-centered issues in bioethics; and understand how to identify and navigate key legal, regulatory, and policy texts relevant to end-of-life bioethics. Students will explore and contrast legal reasoning and bioethical analysis, often of the same issues. By the end of the course, students will understand the legal or regulatory status of selected issues and have begun to independently navigate major legal, regulatory, and policy texts. Individual sessions will focus on particular issues or questions that have been addressed by American and International courts or in legislation, regulation or policy, and that have been the subject of scholarship and debate within bioethics.
In order to implement these learning objectives, the course will focus on two primary projects. The first involves CLI’s Healthcare Proxy Helpline, which launched in April 2020 in response to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.14, which permitted for the first time electronic video witnessing of New York State healthcare proxy forms being signed. CLI trained 30 Advance Directive Advocates to serve as electronic witnesses and as an ethics consultant, should the client wish to discuss their wishes in greater detail. Law students will be paired up with 1-2 bioethics advocates in order to assist the Helpline.
The second project focuses on legal research, on legal and policy issues that arise around long-term care facilities, especially those that do not respect residents’ advance directives, particularly for individuals with dementia. One specific case is that of Susan Saran, who fought for her right to determine her death and complete her life on her own terms after a fatal diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia, and yet had her advance directive wishes ignored by the long-term care facility in which she resided. As part of this project, students will research and analyze previously unreported court decisions on end-of-life matters including the 1984 Plaza Rehabilitation case in the Supreme Court of New York.
David N. Hoffman, who is a healthcare lawyer, clinical bioethicist, and Lecturer in Bioethics at Columbia University’s Masters in Bioethics Program, Clinical Assistant Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Faculty of the Einstein-Cardozo Law School Master’s Bioethics Program, will oversee students for their duration of study. Professor Hoffman will be joined by Professor Thaddeus M. Pope, a foremost expert on medical law and clinical ethics, and professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota; and by Sarah J. Kiskadden-Bechtel, Program Director of CLI.
“For those interested, please submit your statement of purpose (250-300 words) along with a current CV/resume via the submission button below.”