The annual Ethics Essay Contest was established in 1989, designed to challenge college students to analyze the important ethical issues confronting them in today’s complex world. Students are encouraged to write thought-provoking personal essays that raise questions, single out issues and present rational arguments for ethical action.
Each spring, the poses a question in medical ethics or professionalism as the topic for that year's ethics essay contest. All current U.S. medical students (MD and DO) are invited to submit essays of up to 2,000 words in response to the question. Essays are judged on clarity of presentation, writing style, and applicability of the argument to actual decision making. The author of the best essay receives an award of $5,000, and, when more than one exceptional entry is received, authors of up to three runner-up essays receive $1,000 prizes. Authors of winning essays must be willing to revise their essays for publication in the .
The John M. Rezendes Annual Ethics Essay Competition