a1 Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and an associate professor of Humanities (Ethics) at the University of Illinois at Chicago
It is logical that to function properly ethics committees must be properly trained, and I believe that Griener and Starch's paper in this issue of CQ is an important contribution to such a point of view and to this field. Although written from the Canadian perspective, the paper should find broad resonance in other settings. Differences between national medical settings are interesting but not critical to the point Griener and Starch make, i.e., ethics committees should be trained and should continue to be trained.
Not all will agree on this position, because it rests on several presuppositions that not everyone will accept. According to such a thesis, ethics in general and medical ethics in particular has its own peculiar way of thinking, is based on a recognizable and acknowledged body of literature, and can be acquired by study. Further, such a view presupposes that persons who have acquired such a skill and broadened it by continual practice have developed an expertise lacking in others who have no familiarity with the field.