A model is described for implementing a program in research ethics education in the face of federal and institutional mandates and current resource, disciplinary, and infrastructure limitations. Also discussed are the historical background, content and evaluation process of the workshop at the heart of the program, which reaches a diverse group of over 250 students per year--from first-year graduate students in basic research labs to clinical fellows. The workshop addresses central issues in both everyday laboratory ethics and in larger societal questions. Goals include improving overall awareness of ethics guidelines and philosophy and enhancing skills in identifying and then analyzing the ethical components of situations. Pedagogies used and their effectiveness and that of the overall workshop and extended program are addressed. Programs like these have initiated a shift in the culture of basic research, which is a critical need given the current atmosphere.