• Frate Fellowship in Bioethics and Medical Humanities

    The career of Dr. Dennis A. Frate is emblematic of the goals of the summer fellowship experience offered by the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities.  As a medical anthropologist, Dr. Frate sought ways to study health and health care through an understanding of the human factors that determine how we experience illness, injury, and their treatment. His work was strongly informed by the humanities disciplines through which he studied the health of people in the full context of their lives in order to learn how relationships, lifestyle, and culture impact disease prevalence and outcomes.

    Dr. Dennis A. Frate
    Dr. Dennis A. Frate

    Dr. Frate received his PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of Illinois in 1978 and served as the director of the Office for Community Health Research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford. In 1980, he moved to Mississippi to become an assistant professor in the Department of Health Care Administration of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. Here he secured NIH funding to test community-based strategies for controlling hypertension. This field project ultimately developed into the Rural Health Research at the University of Mississippi for which Dr. Frate served as coordinator.  While his research reached international audiences, much of his work focused specifically on populations in rural Mississippi. 

    In 2000, he became professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. 

    The Frate Fellowship in Bioethics and Medical Humanities is named in honor of Dr. Frate, who was killed in a 2007 automobile crash. The fellowship continues his legacy by preparing a new generation of humanities scholars who recognize the human dimensions of the complex and multi-faceted health care enterprise. Now in its eighth year, the fellowship program is a collaborative effort of the University of Mississippi and Millsaps College. Call (601) 984-1198 for more information.

    Summer Bioethics Fellowship

    In collaboration with the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Mississippi, the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at UMMC has developed a Student Bioethics Fellowship to give undergraduate students in the humanities a substantive exposure to the broad spectrum of ethical, social and cultural issues associated with modern health care.

    The intent of this fellowship experience is to foster scholarship that leads to a greater understanding of the social and cultural context in which health care and biomedical research take place. The fellowship promotes a more engaged perspective among future humanities scholars of the factors influencing health-care objectives, delivery models and economics. Participating students will develop a foundation for informed participation in health-care education and policy discussions by readings, discussions and clinical observations relevant to:

    • The history and philosophical underpinnings of bioethics as a defined discipline;
    • Important theories of modern bioethics;
    • Applications of bioethical principles to both patient care and biomedical research (case studies);
    • The complex interplay between social, cultural, economic and political forces and health, health care and health policy.

    The fellowship, structured as a five-week immersion experience on the UMMC campus in Jackson, will begin with an orientation to the unique aspects of working in a medical environment, including formal training in HIPPA standards, exposure to blood-borne pathogens and hazardous materials, and professional decorum within a clinical environment. Students will be assigned to ward teams to permit direct observations, patients' experience of illness, environment of care, and interactions with physicians, nurses and staff.

    A view of the medical education process will be provided through interaction with medical and nursing students as well as attendance of selected classes and educational conferences. Students will be introduced to the moral, ethical and regulatory issues associated with human subject research by attending Institutional Review Board (IRB) meetings. Similarly, the ethical and logistic challenges associated with the use of animals in biomedical research will be engaged through attendance at a meeting of the Institutional Animal Care and Utilization Committee (IACUC).

    Students will complete selected readings from the biomedical literature and view films that serve as a basis for case discussions. In addition, they will participate in small group discussions conducted by experts in health policy, research funding, health-care law, public health and the interface of religion and health care. Fellowship grade will be based on both participation throughout the fellowship and an essay analyzing an ethical, cultural or social issue relevant to the Fellowship experience

    Student Bioethics Fellows will be selected competitively based on academic record and faculty recommendations. Six hours of course credit for successful completion of the program will be available through the university's Department of Philosophy and Religion. Students interested in applying may obtain additional information from Dr. Steven C. Skultety, Department of Philosophy and Religion (Oxford), (662) 915-7020; or Dr. Ralph Didlake, Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities (Jackson), (601) 815-4964.