Faculty, Staff and Fellows

Main Content

CBMH Director and Staff

Dr. Ralph Didlake

didlake,-ralph.jpgDr. 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 at UMMC and in 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 master's in bioethics and health Policy from Loyola University's Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics in Chicago. (CV).

Dr. Didlake's focus is on the integration of biomedical ethics and professionalism across Mississippi clinical, educational 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.

Amanitare Bailey, MA, MPH

bailey,-amanitare.jpgIn 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 Mississippi institutions, including the Institutions of Higher Learning and UMMC'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.

Caroline Compretta, PhD

compretta,-caroline.jpgThe Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities is pleased to introduce Dr. Caroline Compretta, our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) postdoctoral 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, survey 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 focuses 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 health-care 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.


Patrick Hopkins, PhD

hopkins,-patrick.jpgPatrick D. Hopkins is a philosopher specializing in ethical theory, moral psychology and neuroscience, and applied ethical issues in science, medicine and technology. Upon completing a BA in psychology at the University of Mississippi, he worked at the Yerkes Primate Research Center in Atlanta, and later in Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Tennessee Medical School, Memphis.

To further his interests in the cultural, moral and theological dimensions of science and technology, he completed a PhD in philosophy at Washington University, St. Louis, followed by a postdoctoral research fellowship in applied ethics at Bowling Green State University, Ohio.

As professor of philosophy at Millsaps College, Dr. Hopkins teaches applied ethics, political theory, history and philosophy of science, moral psychology, and philosophy of mind and neuroscience. The author of numerous articles on biomedical ethics and studies in science and technology, gender studies and religion, he has edited an anthology on gender and technology and another on applied ethics controversies. Along with ongoing projects on pathologies of moral cognition, medical enhancement and human research ethics, and medicine's role in the law, Dr. Hopkins is currently focused on a major book project examining the history of natural law theory and the impact on its future of contemporary neuroscience and cognitive science.

Pamela Wardlaw

wardlaw,-pam.jpgPamela 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 support 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 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.