in the Department of Philosophy and Religion

Frate Fellowship in Bioethics and Medical Humanities

The University of Mississippi Medical Center
the UM Department of Philosophy and Religion

are proud to announce
The 2020 Frate Fellowship in Bioethics and Medical Humanities


When does it take place?

  • The fellowship program takes place from June 29th to July 31st, 2020.

Where does it take place?

  • This five-week immersion experience takes place at the Medical Center in Jackson, MS.

Who is eligible?

  • You must be a University of Mississippi student who will be a junior or senior in Fall 2020.
  • Prior to the first day of the program, you must present evidence that you are covered by a health insurance policy and have received a TB skin test within the last 12 months.
  • Two UM students will be selected by a competitive process based on the strength of application, personal statement, and recommendation letter.
  • Preference will be given to UM students who are residents of Mississippi.

What will I do?

  • You will complete a brief online tutorial on contemporary ethical theory.
  • You will be assigned to ward teams with whom you can directly observe patients as they experience their illnesses, the environment in which their care is given, and observe the physicians, nurses and other staff as they provide that care.
  • You will interact with medical and nursing students and will attend selected classes and educational conferences at the University Medical Center and the G.V. Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
  • You will be introduced to the ethical issues associated with human subjects research and the use of animals in biomedical research. You will attend meetings of review boards in which both kinds of research are reviewed for approval.
  • You will be expected to complete assigned readings in a textbook and the biomedical literature. You will participate in tutorials and small group discussions on the reading assignments with faculty members of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities. Written assignments will include keeping a journal of your experiences and reflections, as well as developing written arguments that deal with the ethical, cultural, and social issues that you will encounter during the program.
  • More information about the history and purpose of the fellowship can be found on the UMMC Frate Fellowship webpage.

What course credit will I receive?

  • You will receive 3 hrs. of credit for SOHE 329: Medical Humanities and receive a letter grade in the Second Summer Session. The tuition and fees for summer school will be paid for by the program.

Where will I stay?

  • Students will be awarded $1,400 of financial aid that they can use to cover boarding at Millsaps College, living expenses, and transportation costs.

How do I apply?

  • Application materials can be found here: Bioethics application 2020
  • To ensure consideration, all application materials should be received by 5:00, March 31th, 2020.  This application material should be delivered to the Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion:

Dr. Steven Skultety
Department of Philosophy and Religion
103 Bryant Hall
Phone: (662) 915-7020

How do past fellows describe this experience?

  • “The Frate Fellowship is a unique, revolutionary experience in any undergraduate student’s career.  It introduces a new way to interpret and reason about complex ethical scenarios through case discussions and field experience. From the very first day, you are immersed into real-life bioethical situations and start having discussions with the director, as well as with biomedical researchers, clinicians, health policy officials, and other groups who experience ethical issues within their specific area of healthcare involvement. I was challenged to approach issues from all different angles and to escape my own comfort zone. I gained an entirely new appreciation for the importance of the humanities in healthcare. Over this five-week program, the range of my medical ethics knowledge expanded from grasping a few biomedical principles all the way to having a working understanding of the ethical dilemmas faced on a routine basis. If given the opportunity all over again, I would take it in a heartbeat. Words can not do this Fellowship justice.” Raksha Chatakondi (2019 Fellow, Exercise Science)
  • “To be able to describe this fellowship in a few sentences is not possible. To describe what it will do for you is only a little more so. This fellowship is nothing you can be prepared for. It challenges you in all the best ways and asks the unanswerable questions. It takes you on ethical journeys you would never think of and opens your eyes to so many new perspectives. You will begin to think in new ways. You will be frustrated, enlightened, surprised, inspired, and feel so many other emotions. This fellowship was pivotal in helping me find what I was really passionate about, and it helped me decide what field I wanted to go into. Nowhere else can you get a program so planned to give you the best of all views in the field of bioethics. The only way you can see how deep these issues are is to dive in headfirst. You won’t regret it.” Lily Nguyen (2019 Fellow, Biology)
  • “Looking back on the experiences I had during the Frate Fellowship in Bioethics and Medical Humanities I can’t help but crack a smile. I walked into UMMC on the first day of this program believing that I was prepared for what was to come, but I could not have been more naive. On day one of this experience we dove headfirst into the impossibly exciting, frustrating, inspiring, and heart breaking field that is bioethics and I have not looked back since. This fellowship took me far beyond what I had read in any textbook, and provided real world examples of how health care professionals and researchers grapple with ethics every single day. It is imperative that we as society place a higher importance on ethical discussion in order to create the change so desperately needed in our health care system. Through this brilliantly designed fellowship I learned how to have these difficult conversations, and I am confident that this skill will be invaluable in all aspects of life.”  Madison Bandler (2016 Fellow, Biology)
  • “This bioethics fellowship has challenged me to think in ways I have never imagined. As a science major, I always accepted facts as facts and never really questioned why. This fellowship granted us fellows the opportunity to meet with various professionals (medical and non-medical) to talk about the ethical dilemmas they face each day. I knew ethical issues existed but discussing difficult topics with these professionals just made them very real. I know that sounds silly but you have these heavy discussions that sometimes make you feel torn and you learn that the issues are so much deeper than you realize. I cannot forget to mention the amazing mentor that you will have to help guide you throughout the whole process. If I were to name one thing that I took from this experience, it is that it taught me to always question the morality of things. The overall experience was extremely rewarding, and I would recommend this program to anyone who enjoys being challenged.” Thuy Phuong Le (2016 Fellow, Biochemistry)
  • “This Bioethics experience and UMMC was absolutely amazing. Right off the bat we were engaging in ethical debates in everything from a person’s autonomous right to refuse treatment to allowing death row prisoners to donate their organs. Not only were the discussions fascinating but the multiple experiences were as well. Our group was able to stand in an operating room and speak to the doctors as they were preforming surgery, tour the animal holding facilities and speak to the primary veterinarian, visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and many other astounding places. All in all the Bioethics Fellowship, through many eye opening philosophical debates and awe-inspiring experiences, gave me a new perspective on life and the healthcare organization. Over the course of five weeks our group of students and the UMMC staff grew incredibly close. This was an experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world and would do again in a heartbeat if I were able.”  Emily Payne (2015 Fellow, Classics & Political Science)
  • “This fellowship in one phrase: fundamentally life-changing.  When you think about healthcare, you think about the diseases, the doctors, the politics.  Now zoom out, zoom way out.  Can you see the different cultures of health in different populations?  What about the disparities in access to healthcare?  Any answers you might have to these questions, the bioethics fellowship will show you that there is so much more than what you know.  Through a month-long adventure with forty immersion experiences, I realized that ethical discussion is necessary in every aspect of healthcare.  We need humanities scholars who can treat patients not as numbers or bodies but as they really are, humans.  In a time when STEM majors seem to garner the most attention in higher education, this fellowship will convince you that we still, and always, need the humanities.”  Yujing Zhang (2015 Fellow, Pharmaceutical Sciences)
  • “This fellowship is full of exciting opportunities. Not only did we receive superb instruction in philosophy and ethical principles, but we were also immersed directly in the situations we discussed. In classrooms, we are often limited to hypothetical situations, but this fellowship offers unique experiences that are rarely granted to undergraduates. With tours of the hospital, meetings with healthcare workers, and role-playing simulations, this fellowship allows its participants to experience bioethical situations first-hand. The knowledgeable professionals we met at UMMC made this experience incredibly enlightening by challenging us and allowing us to develop and voice our own opinions. This fellowship is invaluable—no one should pass up the opportunity to participate.”  Anna Grace Stout (2014 Fellow, Public Policy and Leadership major)
  • “The biomedical ethics fellowship was an amazing opportunity for me to step outside the standard classroom setting and discover how applicable my interests in philosophy and problem solving can be in the real world.  We were given access to every aspect of the UMMC campus, and at every turn we were confronted with unique examples of how ethics permeates every facet of the medical field.  I gained more valuable experience during those five weeks than I could have ever imagined, and I have already begun to reap the rewards. I will be attending medical school beginning in the fall, and the perspective I gained from this fellowship was invaluable during the med-school application process. This type of consolidated hands on experience is almost impossible to come by as an undergraduate student, and I am certain that it gave me a leg up when writing essays and preparing for interviews.  More importantly though, this fellowship has helped me to realize and better understand the kind of doctor that I hope to become some day.  It has made me mindful of the ubiquitous role of ethics in healthcare, and I know that I will be better equipped to handle the ethical challenges and tough decisions that I will undoubtedly face as a medical professional.”  Joseph Maxwell  (2014 Fellow, Philosophy Major)
  • “This fellowship has given me an amazing perspective, and proven just how useful a philosophical mind can be in tackling difficult, real-life situations. I was astounded at the access we were granted at UMMC, and how we could put faces to the normally hypothetical players of philosophical scenarios. Getting to break out of the theoretical realm and see philosophical issues in a real, healthcare situation was an incredibly exciting opportunity. The people at UMMC we talked to made the experience even more incredible, showing us the difficult ethical issues they encounter daily, in areas ranging from organ transplantation to animal research. This is truly an eye opening fellowship.”  Hadley Pearson (2013 Fellow, Philosophy major)