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Urban Bioethics Track


Dr. Stephanie Spivack (Clinical)

Dr. Nora Jones (Master’s Program)


Temple is located in one of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged zip codes in the city.  The patients we care for face a number of challenges, including health literacy, access to housing, poverty, and access to comprehensive health care.  The Urban Bioethics track was developed for residents who are looking to build a strong foundation and a deeper understanding of social determinants of health, health disparities, community engagement, and the role of ethics in health, laws, and policy.  It consists of coursework taken through the Center for Urban Bioethics (CUB) plus focus groups as part of the community engagement coursework.

This track offers a rare opportunity to earn a Master’s Degree in Urban Bioethics (MAUB) during the course of residency. Temple is the only residency program in the country to offer this type of degree within an internal medicine residency. 

“I completed my undergraduate degree and medical training in Washington, DC, where I first worked with underserved communities and began learning about the social determinants of health. I chose to do my residency at Temple because I wanted to continue to work in an underserved urban community.   In my first few months of residency, I have experienced many barriers that prevent our patients from achieving better health– poor health literacy, lack of insurance, food deserts, lack of transportation, poor social support, mental illness, addiction, to name a few. These barriers often extend beyond the care that we can provide as physicians and require a multidisciplinary approach to overcome.  I was interested in pursuing the Urban Bioethics track to further understand the barriers our patients face in obtaining healthcare and learning strategies to work around those barriers.  As an internal medicine resident, I am on the front line of patient care, both as a primary care physician in our outpatient continuity clinic and as the primary physician for hospitalized patients. This means I am often the first to address barriers to healthcare.   Having in-depth experience in urban bioethics will help me deliver better patient care and improve the health of my patients both during residency and in my future career.”

 -Stephanie Spivack, MD, MA Temple Internal Medicine Residency 2019

The Master’s in Urban Bioethics was designed with the medical professional in mind and offers a large degree of flexibility for completing courses around clinical rotations. Coursework begins in the second year of residency and consists of seminars which are held in the late afternoons. They are recorded and available for viewing at a later time on Canvas, which means that residents can still participate in coursework even when schedules conflict with the lecture. Some courses are entirely online. There are also independent study projects and a required Master’s Thesis, which is guided and mentored by both course directors and track directors. Please see the Master's Program website for more information:

Additionally, and excitingly, Temple’s house staff benefits include tuition remission for this Master’s Program!

How and When to Apply

Interested residents apply for this track during the winter of intern year. The application consists of the resident’s CV and a personal statement expressing their reason for interest in the program. Previous work or volunteer experience with underserved populations (prior to Temple residency) will be considered, but it is not required in order to apply. A background in ethics is not required. Because of the additional coursework required, applicants must be in good standing at the time of application.