What the HEC-C? An Analysis of the Healthcare Ethics Consultant-Certified Program: One Year in

Am J Bioeth. 2020 Mar;20(3):9-18. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2020.1714794.


Efforts to professionalize the field of bioethics have led to the development of the Healthcare Ethics Consultant-Certified (HEC-C) Program intended to credential practicing healthcare ethics consultants (HCECs). Our team of professional ethicists participated in the inaugural process to support the professionalization efforts and inform our views on the value of this credential from the perspective of ethics consultants. In this paper, we explore the history that has led to this certification process, and evaluate the ability of the HEC-C Program to meet the goals it has set forth for HCECs. We describe the benefits and weaknesses of the program and offer constructive feedback on how the process might be strengthened, as well as share our team's experience in preparing for the exam.

Keywords: Professional ethics; education; professional-patient relationship.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Bioethics / trends*
  • Certification / history
  • Certification / standards*
  • Consultants*
  • Ethicists / education
  • Ethicists / standards*
  • Ethics Consultation / standards*
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Professional Competence / standards*
  • Program Evaluation