Blurred Lines: Ethics at the Nexus of Science, Technology, and Rehabilitation

Course Description

Science and technology are changing society and the way we live. In many ways, science fiction is becoming reality: what does this mean to us? Will technology eventually replace therapists? New biomedical devices make increasing amounts of data available about the status of patients (telehealth, wearable technologies, implantable devices) – do we know what to do with it? Is our role changing? Interventions are becoming increasingly complex and expensive (robotics, virtual environments, brain-machine interfaces): Does more technology = better quality care? Where is the line between rehabilitation and enhancement and where do we stand on this issue? This advanced level ethics course will challenge participants to thoughtfully reflect on the implications of scientific advancements for their clinical practice as well as health care and society as a whole, as we try to determine how to forge ahead with integrity to infinity and beyond.

Course Objectives

  • Identify ethical challenges imposed by current advances in biotechnology
  • Outline the ethical issues embedded in technologies that change our physical functioning
  • Revisit our legal requirements to maintain competency, confidentiality, privacy and provide informed consent
  • Compare and contrast the values of rehabilitation with those for enhancement
  • Link foundational issues to cases for discussion

Course outline

There are approximately four hours of video to watch. You may watch as much as you like per sitting, pause, rewind, stop, and come back to complete on your own time.

Continuing Education Credit

4 CEU hours for Ethics and Jurisprudence awarded by Marquette University as per WI State Statue 9.04(1) as an approved organization - courses previously approved for E&J by the WPTA. A certificate of attendance will be provided to each participant after verification of successful completion of quiz.


Tina Stoeckmann

Tina Stoeckmann, PT, DSc, MA is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Marquette University. She has served on the WPTA Ethics Committee since 2000 including several years as Chair. She has also been a member of the Southeast Wisconsin Developmental Disability Ethics Committee. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the UW – Madison in 1988, a Masters of Arts in Bioethics from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1999, and her DSc in Neurology from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in 2008. Her clinical background has been primarily in neurologic rehabilitation, specializing in traumatic brain injury, and she continues to practice clinically at Froedtert Hospital on the Neurologic Rehab unit. Tina has presented to a variety of audiences at the high school, college, and professional levels on ethics topics including rehabilitation ethics, social justice, informed consent, balancing business and professional ethics, and professional boundaries, among others.