Dr. April L. Palmer, Chief of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Division and Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, currently serves as the medical center's subcommittee chair for Ethics education. Board certified in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases, Dr. Palmer's particular ethics interests include research ethics, health care access, and the ethics of new biotechnologies. After completing a bachelors in Human Biology with Distinction and Honors at the University of Kansas, Dr. Palmer received a medical education at that university's School of Medicine. She then pursued pediatric training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, where she served as Chief Resident, followed by a University of Colorado School of Medicine fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases. Dr. Palmer's clinical dedication and devotion to patients are particularly welcome within the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities Clinical Ethics Consultation Service, where her clarity and compassion can be pivotal for families facing ethical dilemmas involving children.
Dr. Dennis Watts, Associate Professor of Health Sciences and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Health Related Professions, challenges UMMC students to probe contemporary ethical challenges in his course, Political and Sociological Issues in Health Care. Dr. Watts' interest in Bioethics began in a graduate school Medical Ethics class, prompted in part by Nigel M. de S. Cameron's The New Medicine: Life and Death After Hippocrates. Cameron wrote, "The notion that fundamental ethical challenges are posed by specifically modern circumstances (such as improvement in medical technique) leads to a disorientation and impoverishment of understanding. The impression is sometimes given that the new ethics are simply a spin-off of the new technology. Nothing could be further from the truth." Dr. Watts explores the role of ethics within such contemporary health care topics as access to care, health care delivery models, and research. Dr. Watts, a University of Mississippi alumnus, earned the Master of Divinity at Jackson's Reformed Theological Seminary in 1996, followed in 2004 by the Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration, awarded by the University of Mississippi. In addition to his faculty appointment with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Dr. Watts has contributed to Mississippi's educational interests through service within the State's Institutions of Higher Learning.
Dr. Jasmine Pugh Taylor, UMMC's Associate Vice Chancellor for Multicultural Affairs, directs the university-wide Division of Multicultural Affairs and serves as Associate Dean for the School of Medicine's Office of Multicultural Affairs.
Dr. Taylor, a Summa Cum Laude alumna of Spelman College and graduate of the University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Medicine, is a board certified psychiatrist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry. In addition to chairing the Multicultural Enhancement Committee, Dr. Taylor is an Admissions Committee member for the Schools of Medicine and of Dentistry, as well as a Liaison Committee member for Medical Education. Recognized for her leadership in diversifying the health profession and advancing the academic career development of underrepresented students, Dr. Taylor has received the commendations of colleagues and students, alongside awards from state and national health care, educational, and business institutions for leadership, professionalism, mentorship, and public service. A Fellow within the Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital Disparities Solutions Center, Dr. Taylor works to extend insights gained through clinical and educational service into state and national policies on behalf of better patient care. Her interests are cornerstone topics within the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, and include exploring fundamental issues of trust and responsibility within the patient-physician relationship and the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities within health care.
The Reverend Dr. Ruth Buck Wallace Black, Director of Pastoral Services at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the University Hospitals and Clinics, is a former Woods Visiting Scholar at Virginia Theological Seminar in Medical Ethics and Pastoral Care.
She earned a doctorate in Linguistics and Literature from Harvard University , pursued post-graduate Theological Studies through Sewanee's St. Luke’s School of Theology , and completed a Clinical Pastoral Education residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Ordained an Episcopal priest in 1987, the Rev. Dr. Black serves as a priest associate at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, chairs the diocesan Committee on Examining Chaplains and the Wellness Committee of the Episcopal Church in Mississippi, and is its principle examiner in Ethics. A member of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi's Executive Committee and Commission on Ministry, she also serves on the Ethics and Clinical Cancer committees of the University of Mississippi Medical Center and on the Ethics committee of Mississippi State Hospital. The Reverend Dr. Black's pastoral and scholarly publications include articles and book chapters on topics associated with death, grief, spirituality, and ethics. An organizing board member for Whispering Pines Hospice, she has provided classes on death and grief through national conferences, local community organizations, Millsaps College, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she has long assisted patients and families enduring illness and injury.
Sharon P. Douglas, MD, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Veterans Administration Education at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, is the Associate Chief of Staff for Education and Ethics and a Staff Pulmonologist at the G.V.(Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center.
Board certified in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Medicine, a Fellow in the American College of Chest Physicians, and a member of the American Medical Association (AMA), Dr. Douglas earned certification in Healthcare Ethics from the University of Washington in 1998, is a certified Advanced Cardiac Life Support instructor, has served as an AMA Education for Physicians on End-of-life Care trainer, and was formerly an instructor for the Institute of Healthcare Communication. A member of the Mississippi State Medical Association's Judicial Council, Dr. Douglas' involvement in shaping policies that further Ethics within clinical care is demonstrated by local, regional, and national service. Active in community and state-wide ethical conferences, Dr. Douglas has lectured to multi-disciplinary health care providers across the state and has worked with Mississippi Advance Directives on such important topics as end-of-life care, life support, and advance directives. A member of the Veterans Health Administration National Ethics Committee, Peer Review Committee, and CPR Committee, as well as the American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, which she currently chairs, Dr. Douglas is a former Chair of the UMMC Ethics Committee and the VA Executive Committee of the Medical Staff. The Veterans Administration has recognized Dr. Douglas' work with a number of Medical Center Special Contribution awards, the 1998 Chief of Staff Award, a 2005 VA Secretary’s Hero Award for her work in the aftermath of hurricanes, and the 2009 William A. Nelson Award for Excellence in VHA Healthcare Ethics. In addition to longstanding policy contributions, Dr. Douglas introduces aspiring physicians to a deeper engagement with Ethics. A contributor to selected Ethics scholarly efforts, Dr. Douglas' helps medical students, residents, and pulmonary fellows probe informed consent, cultural proficiency, communicating difficult findings, end-of-life care, and health care professionalism, writes questions addressing these topics for the USMLE Step 1 Introduction to Clinical Medicine exam, and serves as faculty sponsor for Literati Medicus, a book club for 3rd and 4th year medical students that is devoted to medical ethics, professionalism, cultural awareness, and medical-legal topics.
Three times chosen by UMMC School of Medicine students as an All-Star Teacher (2000, 2002, 2005), Dr. Douglas has received the Golden Apple Award, the American Medical Student Association Award (2000), selection as Keynote Speaker for both the Long Coat and White Coat ceremonies, and the Alpha Omega Alpha Teacher of the Year Award (2010).
Susan Shands Jones, who received degrees in Art History and in Law from Vanderbilt University, is a member of the Mississippi, Tennessee, and District of Columbia Bar Associations, the National Association of College and University Attorneys, and the American Health Lawyer's Association. She is also a fifth generation Jacksonian whose tireless efforts as Associate General Counsel for the University of Mississippi Medical Center, a leader within local community service organizations, and strong voice of support for access and advocacy in health care and education are summed up in her view that, "We've all got to care about Jackson." Upon receiving her law degree, Ms. Shands Jones went the unusual route of practicing administrative land and environmental law on behalf of the public sector in Washington D.C. for four years, during which she was involved in cases on land and private usage in the far West and Alaska, as well as conservation and development of natural resources. She went into private practice for four years and then joined Vanderbilt's Office of University Relations. After returning South, Ms. Shands Jones was recruited to serve initially as Mississippi's Associate Secretary of State for Securities and Business, and then as the State's Special Assistant Attorney General for the Secretary of State's Office. She joined the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1997, where in addition to representing UMMC as in the areas of coporate transactions, administrative, real property, and research law, she taught a School of Medicine elective in Ethics and the Law. Currently, she supports Professionalism Across the Curriculum objectives, and teaches a Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities undergraduate Bioethics Fellowship course segment on Medicine and the Humanities. Ms. Shands Jones has a strong interest in the importance of ethics to both public policy and advocacy efforts, professional and voluntary. In addition to her professional contributions, she has made long-term commitments to such Jackson organizations as Parents for Public Schools, the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, and the Women's Fund of Mississippi. Her ethics and advocacy concerns are centered on access to education and health care for children, as well as training and health care opportunities for women seeking better opportunities for the support of their families.
2500 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216