SIU School of Medicine

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Department of Medical Humanities


Kelly Armstrong, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Clinical Ethicist, Department of Medical Humanities
Director, Program in Clinical Ethics & Public Policy
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine

Kelly Armstrong PhD, is an Assistant Professor and Clinical Ethicist in the departments of Medical Humanities and Internal Medicine at SIU School of Medicine. She is the Director of SIUSOM’s Program in Clinical Ethics and Public Policy, chair of Illinois's Crisis Standards of Care Ethics Sub-Committee, and a member of the Executive Board for Illinois's POLST taskforce. Before coming to SIU, Dr. Armstrong was a Clinical Ethicist for Memorial Health System and Associate Director of the SAGE regional ethics consortium. Dr. Armstrong is a member of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, the Academy for Professionalism in Health Care, and the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics.

Research Interests

Biomedical Ethics
Clinical Ethics
Critical Thinking
Clinical Reasoning and Medical Error
Epistemology and Hermeneutics in Medicine
Professionalism in Medicine
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Role of Culture and Spirituality in Clinical Medicine and Decision-Making
Ethics in Pandemic Planning
Genetics and Health Policy
Health Care Communication
Curricular Topics

Improving Visual Literacy
Cultural Competence in Clinical Medicine
Hospice and Palliative Care
Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Genomic Medicine
Classic Cases in Biomedical Ethics
Enhancing Physician Patient Communication
Alternative Systems of Healing

Degrees and Granting Institutions

Ph.D., Moral Theology and Comparative Biomedical Ethics, University of Iowa
M.A., Religious Studies, University of Iowa
B.S., Biology & Chemistry, University of Iowa


POLST Illinois

Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
IDPH Updates DNR Form to Serve as POLST Form

Click here for educational resources on the updated Uniform Do-Not Resuscitate form, also now known as POLST.

Dr. Armstrong serves on the executive committee for the Illinois POLST Taskforce. The taskforce is an interdisciplinary group of providers, ethicists, religious groups, lawyers, and other medical groups who worked together with IDPH to develop educational resources and make public policy recommendations regarding the POLST paradigm in Illinois.

On March 14, 2013 the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) announced a newly updated Uniform Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Advance Directive form that offers Illinoisans more advance directive health care treatment options and also meets national requirements to be considered a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form.

A POLST form is a signed medical order reflecting the patient’s wishes that travels with the patient across settings of care that must be honored by all healthcare providers. In addition to indicating patients' CPR preferences, the form now allows patients to also indicate their treatment preferences on medical interventions and artificially administered nutrition. The form will be used across the full continuum of care, from EMS to acute hospitals and long-term care facilities. Previously-completed DNR forms remain valid.