Nneka Mokwunye

Project Title

MWHC Center for Ethics Transforming end-of-life care (TECP)

Project Overview

An emergent and critical issue confronting healthcare is the rise of resident suicide and physician burnout. Moral distress around providing non-beneficial interventions to patients is a big source of the anxiety confronted by these young medical professionals. The MWHC Center for Ethics Transforming End-of-Life Care (TECP) program involves monthly ‘End of Life Conferences’ held with internal medicine residents rotating through the ICU. These are structured hour long, protected-time meetings held monthly between an ethicist and an attending physician. In order to quantify the positive impact of these ongoing conferences, we will measure our residents’ subjective comfort level in dealing with ethical issues during their training, comparing two groups: those who attend these sessions with those who do not. We will measure how comfortable the residents feel with avoiding overuse and whether attending these meetings correlates positively with their comfort level in dealing with end-of-life care scenarios.


MedStar Washington Hospital Center

Meet the Team

Nneka O. Mokwunye, PhD, FCCP, director of the Center for Ethics and Spiritual Care Departments at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, is a member of several professional societies and is in leadership in many, including ACCP, SCCM, ASCO, and ASBH. Dr. Mokwunye is the incoming vice president of the End of Life and Palliative Care Steering Committee for ACCP. She has also been appointed to the SCCM medical futility taskforce, along with many other committees within the society. She is a recipient of a Presidential Citation for ASBH. Dr. Mokwunye is well published in clinical ethics and continues research and program development.

Dr. Mokwunye received her BA in philosophy from The George Washington University, MA in philosophy and applied ethics and PhD in medical sociology from Howard University. She is currently finishing a MPH in Global Health at The George Washington University. She is a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and specializes in critical care medicine and clinical ethics.

Olubukunola M. Tawose, JD, MBe, is a clinical ethicist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. While she was a fellow of the Cleveland Fellowship in Advanced Bioethics at the Cleveland Clinic, she received her master’s in bioethics from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Ms. Tawose has a jurist doctorate from Saint Louis University School of Law where she concentrated in health law.

Ms. Tawose has presented work on clinical ethics at various national and international medical and bioethics meetings. Her current research focuses on how to improve the practice of clinical ethics consultation and the collaborations between ethics and law

Gustavo Guandalini, MD, is an Internal Medicine Chief Resident at the Georgetown University Hospital/Washington Hospital Center program. He is native from Brazil, where he obtained his medical degree from the Federal University of Paraná and practiced as a family physician for two years before moving to the U.S. He trained as a research fellow in biophysics at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, in Washington, D.C., followed by an internal medicine residency training at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He is now pursuing a fellowship in cardiovascular disease, and has remained deeply interested in medical ethics throughout his training.

Deborah A. Topol, MD, FACP is associate dean for Medical Education at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and is medical student clerkship director, associate director of the Medical Residency Program in Internal Medicine, and a member of the section of General Internal Medicine at Med Star Washington Hospital Center.  Dr. Topol coordinates and moderates the Medical Student Grand Rounds Program at Georgetown, supervises the medical education of medical students and internal medicine residents at the Washington Hospital Center, and sees private and clinic patients.  Her academic areas of concentration include end-of- life care, the intersection of psychological and medical issues, and innovative approaches to medical education.

Dr. Topol has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MD from the University of Maryland School of Medicine; she is board certified in Internal Medicine.  Dr. Topol completed her internship, residency, and chief residency in internal medicine at Georgetown.  She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Topol lectures around the country on a variety of subjects and teaches a portion of the American College of Physicians’ course in internal medicine for physicians recertifying for the American Board of Internal Medicine.


Email: Nneka.O.Mokwunye@Medstar.net