Autumn M. Fiester, Ph.D.

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Associate Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Founder and Director, Penn Program in Clinical Conflict Management, University of Pennsylvania
Education Officer, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
MBE/MSME Faculty Program Director, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine
Consultant, Academic Conflict Management , School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
Vice Chair for Education, Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Department: Medical Ethics and Health Policy

Contact information
14th Floor, Blockley Hall
423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-573-2602
Fax: 215-573-3036
B.A. (Political and Social Theory)
Bucknell University, 1988.
A.M. (Sociology)
Harvard University, 1993.
M.A. (Philosophy)
Bucknell University, 1995.
Ph.D. (Philosophy)
University of Pennsylvania, 2002.
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Description of Research Expertise

Clinical Ethics
Conflict Resolution
Bioethics Education

Description of Other Expertise

Academic Management Consulting: conflict resolution, organizational development, strategic planning, meeting facilitation, consensus building & mediation

Selected Publications

Fiester, A.: The "Ladder of Inference" as a Conflict Management Tool: Working with the "Difficult" Patient or Family in Healthcare Ethics Consultations. HEC Forum 36(1): 31-44, March 2024.

Callahan, KP, Narva, A., Stoller, JZ, Fiester, A. : Beyond the Question: Reexamining a Parent’s Unusual Request. Pediatrics 2024 Notes: In press.

Fiester, A.: Managing Clinical Conflict. At the Bedside CORE IM (Podcast) Dec. 2023 Notes:

A. Fiester: Working with the "Difficult" Patient. Practicing (Podcast) July 2023 Notes: www.

Fiester, A.: Relational Strategies for Providing Rewarding Care to ‘Difficult’ Patients. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 13(1): 31-37, 2023.

Fiester, A. and Stites, S.: Using a mediator’s toolbox: reducing clinical conflict by learning to reconceive the “difficult” patient or family. MedEd Portal: The Journal of Teaching and Learning Resources 19: 11324, 2023 Notes:

Yuan, C. and Fiester, A.: Ethical Issues in Using Behavior Contracts to Manage the “Difficult” Patient and Family. American Journal of Bioethics 23(1): 50-60, 2023.

Kyweluk, M. and Fiester, A. : The Ethical Mandate of Fertility Preservation Coverage for Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 16(2): 182-198, 2023.

Fiester, A., guest editor: Providing Care When Patients Are "Difficult” Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 13(1), 2023 Notes: Invited special theme issue.

Fiester, A.: Response to Open Peer Commentaries on 'Ethical Issues with Using Behavior Contracts to Manage the “Difficult” Patient and Family' American Journal of Bioethics 23(1), 2023.

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Last updated: 02/22/2024
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