CWRU medical student selected to exclusive program to study ethics in Aushwitz

Jasmine Gallup, Staff Reporter

Like many prestigious and specialized post-graduate fellowships, FASPE—Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics—is not a program that some students realize even exists. Yet for those who are aware of it, like the recently accepted Corina Iacopetti, a senior CWRU medical student also completing a Masters of Arts in Bioethics, the program represents far more than just a trifling opportunity to learn something new.

Iacopetti, and the 47 other FASPE fellows chosen for the program this year, had to beat out almost 900 other applicants from around the world for the chance to pursue their long-running interest in contemporary ethics. Because Iacopetti was one of the 12 medical students selected for the FASPE program this year, she will be able to study the issues of contemporary bioethics within the framework of a two-week program designed specifically for future medical doctors, held this summer in New York, Germany and Poland and focusing on the study of professional ethics through a historical examination of the events of the Holocaust.

FASPE is only five years old, but it’s already gaining notoriety by virtue of the opportunities it presents to its fellows. Drawing graduate student applicants from four different fields of study—journalism, law, religion and medicine—FASPE encourages on-site study, particularly emphasizing the “power of place.”

During her 12 days in the FASPE program, Iacopetti will participate in interdisciplinary seminars, attend guest lectures, meet representatives of Holocaust museums, speak with Holocaust survivors and travel to culturally significant sites in Germany and Poland.

“By educating students about the causes of the Holocaust and the power of their chosen professions,” C. David Goldman, founder of FASPE, says, “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.” More than anything, the program is designed to support independent academic curiosity—upon return from their two-week trip, each Fellow submits a written essay focusing a specific contemporary ethical issue which will be published in an annual FASPE Journal.

Iacopetti applied to FASPE because she wanted to “examine how even professionals devoted to healing could be complicit in unfathomably destructive actions against fellow human beings,” she explains.

Though it seems counterintuitive to expect more from a student who already spent eight years in school, studying philosophy and biological sciences at Stanford and now earning a medical degree at CWRU, it’s easy to see how this program will help her become a better future doctor.