The Frate Fellowship is offered each summer to undergraduate humanities majors who have completed at least two years of study. It is designed to engage emerging scholars across the humanities disciplines in the complex contextual issues that challenge health and health care. The intent of the fellowship is to produce a population of humanities scholars that can inform the work of medical educators, biomedical investigators, health policy makers, and front-line providers using the skills and knowledge of their respective disciplines.
The Frate Fellowship began as a project of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities (CBMH) and the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus. Now in its tenth year, the fellowship has extended its collaboration to Millsaps College, the Sally Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, the University of Chicago, and Sewanee.
The fellowship is named in honor of Dr. Dennis A. Frate, whose career is emblematic of the goals of the summer experience. As a medical anthropologist, Dr. Frate sought ways to understand health and health care through 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 examined 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. Frate received his Ph.D. 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 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. Dr. Frate died tragically in an automobile crash in 2007 but 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.