Dr. Ralph Didlake, professor of surgery and director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, developed a compelling interest in the human context of modern medical and surgical care over the course of a 23-year practice of transplant, vascular and general surgery in the University of Mississippi Medical and private practice.
A graduate of the University of Mississippi, Dr. Didlake completed his medical training and a residency in Surgery at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, followed by a fellowship at Houston's University of Texas Health Science Center in Organ Transplantation. Motivated to improve the integration of ethics and professionalism in medical training and practice, he further obtained a Masters in Bioethics and Health Policy from Loyal University's Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics in Chicago. Dr. Didlake's focus is on the integration of biomedical ethics and professionalism across Mississippi clinical, education, and research efforts. Under his leadership, the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities developed a Quality Enhancement Program on Professionalism for use with UMMC faculty, trainees, staff, and students in all affiliated UMMC schools. In addition, fellowship opportunities through the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities are expanding for undergraduate and graduate students in Mississippi universities to help incorporate interdisciplinary as well as interprofessional advances in health care education and practice.Recently, the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities began implementing its Clinical Ethics Consultation (CEC) Service. This cornerstone clinical service provides round-the-clock assistance to physicians, frontline providers, patients and families facing challenging ethical health care dilemmas. This translation of ethics studies to the clinical arena can help in the determination of strategies that respect each patient's wishes and beliefs.
In her role as Education Administrator, Amanitare Bailey contributes education, expertise and enthusiasm to the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities. After completing an undergraduate education in biology at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, followed by a master's in higher education administration from the University of Mississippi and a master's in public health from Jackson State University, Amani supported project development and management within State of Mississippi institutions, including the Institutions of Higher Learning and the University of Mississippi Medical Center's Department of Surgery.At the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Amani's expert project management has been essential to the Quality Enhancement Program's Professionalism Across the Curriculum efforts. By continuously applying and assessing student educational needs, auditing strategic sites for QEP activities, and monitoring the development of Professionalism program materials, Amani helps to ensure enhanced learning and development opportunities for students in all affiliated UMMC schools.Amani Bailey's research interests include health disparities, access to health care, and health education. She is motivated to work for and with faculty and students so that the next generation of Mississippi health professionals will be able to collaborate in learning and sharing advances in knowledge and best practices in health care.
The Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities is pleased to introduce Dr. Caroline Compretta, our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Post-doctoral Fellow. A graduate of Millsaps College, Dr. Compretta received her master’s and doctoral degrees in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, where she investigated the complex and contested relationships between service providers and recipients in faith-based social service programming. Her doctoral research examined the contradictions and commonalities in providers’ conceptualizations and implementations of services and the lived realities of participating children and families. In view of agency struggles to meet the needs of children and families, her research showed that giving voice to service populations, especially children who are rarely considered in the creation and provision of services, helped to identify areas for service development and collaboration. Her work advocates listening to clients’ voices so service professionals can construct more responsive programs given their knowledge about the everyday issues clients face. In addition to her research interests, Dr. Compretta brings to CBMH an expertise in qualitative methodologies. As an anthropologist, she conducts structured analyses using techniques such as interviewing, focus groups, surveys, and “participant observation,” a method that allows a researcher to immerse herself in the participant community to gain first-hand knowledge about research issues. The analyzed data generated from these and other qualitative methods helps to create a holistic understanding of social dynamics in order to affect social change. Dr. Compretta’s work at CBMH will focus on issues of engagement as a means to work toward the improvement of patient outcomes. She plans to investigate engagement as it relates to the communicative dynamics within interdisciplinary healthcare teams, between patients/families and practitioners, in patients’ cultural and spiritual practices that affect health, and between practitioners and the wider community. Dr. Compretta will apply her knowledge and skills to examine how people within healthcare communities can create more effective responses to patients’ medical and sociocultural needs through communication and understanding. In so doing, her work will help to improve the quality of care at UMMC.
Jo Anne Fordham, Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities assessment and research coordinator, contributes a long experience in supporting the development, statement, implementation, and assessment of key objectives within higher education, hospital, and research program efforts. Trained in writing instruction by a founding member of the Bay Area Writing Project, Jo Anne participated in the initial “Writing Across the Curriculum” assessment conducted at the University of California. She has provided undergraduate through postgraduate composition and ESL instruction, graduate thesis support in the humanities and sciences, literacy/literature instruction (K-12), and professional report writing and editing for scientists, engineers, physicians, lawyers, educators, and administrators. As a writer and educator, she has participated in discipline-specific and institution-wide preparations for reviews by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Educated in comparative literature, Jo Anne Fordham’s interests lie in the analysis and improvement of professional and patient communications to further transparent research, ethical healthcare collaborations, and improved access to education and health care.
Pamela Wardlaw, administrative assistant, brings decades of experience in office administration and the arts to the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities. A former President's List Scholar in vocal performance and classical piano at Mississippi State University, Pam’s intensive musical performance training for both piano and voice, as well as her work as a piano accompanist in the Music Department, were complemented by coursework in the history, theory and pedagogy of music. Pam credits her discipline, attention to detail, organization and time management skills to this foundational training. At her return to formal studies at Hinds Community College, where she received a paralegal degree, these skills served her well: she graduated Phi Theta Kappa and earned a place in Who’s Who for American Junior Colleges.Pam's subsequent positions as a private sector office manager in law and engineering firms, as well as in office suport for Informational Technology at UMMC, furthered her interest in the relationship between foundational disciplines - arts, humanities, science, technology, law and medicine - and ethics. At the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Pam applies her experience with the different approaches foregrounded by these disciplines in coordinating the Student Bioethics Fellowship, an undergraduate program that provides students with a structured engagement of contemporary ethical dilemmas, particularly those involving autonomy, authority, informed consent and access to care in the context of biomedical research and health care institutions and practices. Pam Wardlaw provides a model of professionalism in both frontline contact and behind-the-scenes coordination for the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities. She can be reached at (601) 984-1198.
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Jackson, MS 39216