ASPEN's International Clinical Ethics Section (I.C. Ethics)

I.C. Ethics Mission Statement: As an interprofessional section of ASPEN, we will strive to achieve a patient-centered focus in the management of nutrition support (artificial nutrition and hydration); including options not to provide the therapy, for the patients we serve. This will be accomplished by an international and synergistic collaborative focus on the education and empowerment of healthcare professionals, and the integration of key concepts including preventive ethics, shared decision-making, health literacy, and the use of the teach-back method in nutrition support practice. Our ultimate aim is to advance the field of nutrition support practice with measurable goals and shared best practice.

Letter from the Chair

Dear I.C. Ethics Members,

I would like to welcome you to the International Clinical Ethics Section’s webpage. This section was established in 2013 and this past year our section has been very active, with some of the accomplishments listed below.

Presented at CNW14
I.C. Ethics Section Meeting: Ethical Considerations Surrounding Patient Feeding Issues−Comfort Feeding to Forced Feeding

Education Session: Creating a Healthcare Environment to Prevent Nutrition Support Ethical Dilemmas

Created for ASPENConnect’s Food For Thought: Clinical Ethics Case Study Series, Forced Feeding of Hunger Strikers

I.C. Ethics members published the following articles:

  • Integrating Patient-Centered Care and Clinical Ethics into Nutrition Practice in Nutrition in Clinical Practice, October 2013. 
  • Advancing Nutrition Support Practice with Clinical Ethics in Support Line, February 2014.
  • Clinical Ethics Insight Columns in Nutrition in Clinical Practice National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 2014.
  • Integrating the “Conversation Ready” Initiative Into Nutrition Practice, June 2014.
  • Achieving Patient-Centered Care in a Case of a Patient with Advanced Dementia, August 2014.
  • Gastrostomy Tube Placement in Patients With Advanced Dementia or Near End of Life in Nutrition in Clinical Practice, available online October 2014.
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Gastrointestinal Nutrition Interventions Chapter in The Health Professional’s Guide to Gastrointestinal Nutrition, 2015.

Conducted ASPEN Clinical Ethics Survey and submitted abstract to CNW15. 

We are encouraging our Section members to be involved in several different ways including: volunteering to serve on upcoming projects−such as planning the I.C. Ethics section meeting and education session at CNW16, generating ideas for abstracts to submit for CNW16; providing feedback and suggestions to improve our Section’s efforts; and becoming active on the ASPENConnect Section community.

Please plan on attending at CNW15 our Section meeting! We have an exciting year ahead and I look forward to serving Section member interests through the efforts of our volunteer members. Thank you to all who have contributed and those of you who will contribute to our collaborative work in I.C. Ethics.

Denise Baird Schwartz, MS, RD, CNSC, FADA, FAND, FASPEN
Chair International Clinical Ethics Section of ASPEN  


  • I ntegrate a systematic, structured process of clinical ethics in nutrition support practice using preventive/proactive ethics, shared decision-making, health literacy, and use of the teach-back method of education of the people we serve.
  • C ombine aspects of nutrition support practice with clinical ethics through the use of measurable goals and shared best practice.
  • E mpower healthcare professionals with tools developed by ASPEN (ASPEN Ethics Position Paper and Ethics Resources and provide updates) and other sources as identified by ICES members to enhance our knowledge in applying clinical ethics to nutrition support practice.
  • S upport and encourage international healthcare professional's involvement in clinical ethics application to nutrition support through presentations at Clinical Nutrition Week and abstracts, articles, and columns in Nutrition in Clinical Practice and other journals.

Member Spotlight

Pontes-ArrudaQ&A with Dr. Pontes-Arruda
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