CBHM Fellowships

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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.