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.
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 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.