Duke Med-Psych Resident Chosen for FASPE Ethics Fellowship

Gregg Robbins-Welty, MD, MS, a fourth-year internal medicine-psychiatry resident at Duke University Medical Center, is one of 14 medical students and early-career physicians chosen for the 2023 Medical Program of the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE).

Now in its thirteenth year of operation, FASPE provides a unique historical lens to engage graduate students in professional schools as well as early-stage practitioners in six fields (business, journalism, law, design, and technology, medicine and seminary) in an intensive course of study focused on contemporary ethical issues in their professions.

The FASPE Medical Program offers an approach that differs from the usual classroom experience in medical schools or graduate bioethics programs by providing a holistic curriculum that looks beyond the specifics of formal rules to focus on ethical problems faced by individual doctors in the various settings in which they practice. Fellows participate in a two-week program in Germany and Poland, which uses the conduct of physicians in Nazi-occupied Europe as a way to reflect on medical ethics today.

Daily seminars are led by specialized faculty who engage fellows in discussions, encouraging critical thinking about both the historical and the contemporary. The Medical Program is strengthened by the diverse perspectives of its participants and its intense focus on the powers of place and context. The experience of the medical fellows is enhanced by traveling alongside the seminary and journalism fellows, who—in formal and informal settings—consider together how ethical constructs and norms in their respective professions align and differ.

“By educating students about the causes of the Holocaust and the power of their chosen professions, FASPE seeks to instill a sense of professional responsibility for the ethical and moral choices that the fellows will make in their careers and in their professional relationships,” said David Goldman, FASPE’s founder and chairman.

FASPE studies the perpetrators to emphasize the essential role of professionals and to ask how and why they abandon their ethical guideposts. The FASPE Medical Program examines the role of physicians and the medical profession more broadly during the Nazi period, underscoring the reality that moral codes governing doctors can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences. With this historical background, the medical fellows are better positioned to confront contemporary issues.

The 2023 Fellowship will take place in Germany and Poland in the summer (subject to health considerations). The Medicine Program will be led by Dr. Katherine Fischkoff, associate professor of surgery and critical Care at Columbia University Medical Center, and by Dr. Mark Mercurio, professor of pediatrics and the director of the Program for Biomedical Ethics at Yale School of Medicine.

Gregg Robbins-Welty, MD, MS, is chief resident of the combined internal medicine and psychiatry residency program at Duke University Hospital. Dr. Robbins-Welty is a graduate of Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he obtained his medical doctorate and a master’s degree in clinical research studying end-of-life care.

Robbins-Welty has written extensively and is passionate about mental health, ethics, and end-of-life care. In addition to his clinical work as an internist-psychiatrist, Dr. Robbins-Welty serves as a clinical ethics fellow in the Trent Center fellowship, the chair-elect of the early career sub-committee of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and vice chair of the prestigious American Psychiatric Association’s Leadership Fellowship. He is also a nationally recognized and awarded bluegrass musician, having released several albums, including “Gregg Welty – Community,” which was named among the top recordings of the year in 2019.

Robbins-Welty joins a diverse group of 84 FASPE fellows across all six programs who were chosen through a competitive process that drew applicants from across the U.S. and the world. FASPE covers all program costs, including travel, food and lodging.

FASPE maintains long-term relationships with its fellows in order to sustain commitment to ethical behavior and to provide a forum for continued dialogue. To date, FASPE has over 750 alumni. To learn more about FASPE and its programs, visit www.faspe-ethics.org.