Massachusetts Medical Society: Vaccines, Doctors, and Patients - Medical Ethics in the Era of COVID-19 – the 2021 MMS Ethics Forum

Vaccines, Doctors, and Patients - Medical Ethics in the Era of COVID-19 – the 2021 MMS Ethics Forum

Vaccines, Doctors, and Patients - Medical Ethics in the Era of COVID-19

Presented by the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Committee on Ethics, Grievances, and Professional Standards, the Ethics Forum alerts physicians to the ethical implications of issues that arise in daily practice and offers information on issues at the intersection of ethics, medicine, and professionalism. The Ethics Forum at the Society’s Interim Meeting, recorded on November 10, 2021, explores medical ethics in the era of COVID-19.





Rebecca W. Brendel, MD, JD

Director, Master's Degree Program, Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics

Dr. Brendel is director of the Master’s Degree Program at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics, of which she is also an associate director. She bases her clinical work in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital where she is the director of Law and Ethics at the Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior. She is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Rebecca W. Brendel, M.D., J.D. is the president-elect American Psychiatric Association, chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society Committee on Ethics, Grievances, and Professional Standards, and a member of the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

Dr. Brendel earned her medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. She completed her psychiatry residency at Massachusetts General and McLean Hospitals, a forensic psychiatry fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and an ethics faculty fellowship at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. She is admitted to the Massachusetts Bar.


Elliott Crigger, PhD
Director of Ethics Policy, Secretary to the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association 

Elliott is currently Director of Ethics Policy and Secretary to the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) with the American Medical Association (AMA). He joined the AMA in December 2007, from the National Center for Ethics in Health Care of the Veterans Health Administration. Elliott had hands-on ethics training on staff at The Hastings Center, a private, nonprofit research organization devoted to medical ethics and the life sciences, before joining the VA.

Elliott supports CEJA, the body within AMA charged maintaining the AMA Code of Medical Ethics by developing ethics guidance for physicians. The CEJA team provides research support and develop draft documents for CEJA review and approval, as well as providing administrative and logistic support to the council. Translation: we read a lot, write a lot, and discuss how best to balance competing values in tackling ethics issues in medicine.

Elliott’s education was at the University of Chicago from college through grad school — with a few “gap” years in San Francisco in between getting his BA and starting grad school. He spent a year in Dublin Ireland researching his dissertation; received a joint PhD, in anthropology and linguistics, in 1991.





Susan Miller, MD, MPH, FACP, FAAFPI
John S. Dunn, Sr. Research Chair in General Internal Medicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute

Dr. Susan M. Miller is the John S. Dunn, Sr. Research Chair in General Internal Medicine at the Houston Methodist Hospital and is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Institute of Academic Medicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute. She is an Associate Professor at Weill Medical College, Cornell University.

Dr. Miller is Department Chair of Family Medicine at The Methodist Hospital. She is currently the senior Chair of the Institutional Review Board of the Methodist Hospital Research Institute and the Director of the Chao Program for International Research Ethics. In 2020, Dr. Miller became a Laureate of the Texas Chapter of the American College of Physicians.

Intended Audience
This activity is designed for health care leaders, physicians, residents, other health care professionals and students in all health care professions.

Course Objectives

  • Describe the sources of ethics guidance for clinical practice in the era of COVID-19
  • Identify resources to seek guidance and consultation for ethical challenges in their practices
  • Appreciate the ethical issues for physicians in balancing between patients’ individual health care preferences and decisions and public health responsibilities
  • Describe the ethical framework of a hospital’s mandatory COVID-19 employee vaccination policy

Course Fees
Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) Physician Member: $30.00
MMS Resident/Student Member: Free
Non-Member Physician: $67.50
Non-Members Resident/Student: $15.00
Allied Health Professional/Other: $24.00

Format & Estimated Time to Complete
Video (1.5 hours)  

Accreditation and Credit Information
Accreditation Statement
The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement
The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this internet enduring material for a maximum of 1.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Approval Statement
Through the American Board of Medical Specialties (“ABMS”) ongoing commitment to increase access to practice relevant Continuing Certification Activities through the ABMS Continuing Certification Directory, this activity has met the requirements as a Lifelong Learning CME Activity (apply toward general CME requirement) for the following ABMS Member Boards:

Allergy and Immunology
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Family Medicine
Medical Genetics and Genomics
Nuclear Medicine
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Plastic Surgery
Preventive Medicine
Psychiatry and Neurology
Thoracic Surgery

This activity meets the criteria for the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for risk management study.

National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistant (NCCPA)
Physician Assistants may claim a maximum of 1.50 Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.

Exam/Assessment: A score of 70% or higher is required to receive AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Activity Term
Original Release Date: January 3, 2022
Review Date (s): N/A
Termination Date: January 3, 2025

Course Developers, Reviewers & Web Producer:
Brett Bauer, Paralegal, Office of the General Counsel, Massachusetts Medical Society
William Frank, Legal Counsel, Office of the General Counsel, Massachusetts Medical Society
Thelma Tatten, Web Content Production Specialist, NEJM Group Education

System Requirements

Windows 10
Mac OSX 10.6 higher

Most modern browsers including:
IE 11+
Firefox 18.0+
Chrome latest version
Safari 12+

iOS devices beginning with OS version 10 or higher (includes, iPhone, ipad and iTouch devices)

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