The Proceedings are from the February 5th-8th, 2017 conference entitled, “Examining Ethical and Other Implications for a Culture of Health in the Context of the Deep South.” First and foremost, thanks are extended to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), particularly to Risa Lavizzo-Mourey MD, MBA, former President and CEO for her leadership and vison in developing a Culture of Health throughout the U.S. Thanks are also extended to Richard Besser MD, the current President and CEO of RWJF, for his continual support for this national initiative. Dwayne Proctor PhD, has been extraordinary for his guidance and advice, as National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, Tuskegee University (National Bioethics Center) focused on a conference to examine a Culture of Health of the Deep South. Matthew Trujillo, PhD and Michael White, MPH, the Project Officers for the conference grant, have been extremely helpful in working with the National Bioethics Center faculty and staff in planning and executing the conference. Embedded in Tuskegee University history of serving those in greatest need, particularly those in rural areas. In 1915, Booker. T. Washington, Founding President of Tuskegee University, started Negro Health Week, which focused on the health of African Americans. More than 100 years later, former Tuskegee University President, Brian Johnson, PhD was instrumental the initiating conversations between RWJF and Tuskegee University regarding the health of people in the Deep South. We also acknowledge the extraordinary leadership of Charlotte Morris PhD, Interim President, for creating a “culture of compassionate caring and commitment” at Tuskegee University. She has served the university in senior staff, faculty and/or administrative positions for many, many years.
The conference speakers and facilitators should be commended for their willingness and effort to translate their conference presentations and workshop deliberations into publishable articles (some were peer reviewed). Louis S. Sullivan, MD, Founding Dean and President of the Morehouse School of Medicine and Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provided an engaging presentation of the role of health professionals in a Culture of Health, which focused on the report entitled, “The Sullivan Report: Missing in Actions.” Dr. Sullivan discussed, in his presentation, the need to increase the number of culturally competent physicians, dentists and nurses. The attendees from throughout the states of the Deep South were tremendously engaged during the conference, and even since then, in advancing the idea of a Culture of Health. The National Bioethics Center staff, particularly Robyn White, Geraldine Thomas and Kecia Stewart committed extra time and energy, beyond their regular duties, to complete the follow up work to ensure that the Proceedings was completed and published in a timely manner. The conference and the Proceedings are the beginning of examining a Culture of Health of the Deep South. Over the upcoming years a series of activities will be undertaken, including the National Bioethics Center developing a 5-Year Action Plan. Differing from most, this conference is the beginning, not the end, of forward thinking towards a new way of viewing health within the context of culture and ethics. The Proceedings provide concrete ideas on what moving forward looks and feels like.
Rueben C. Warren
David A. Hodge
View The Proceedings and download them Final Copy of the Proceedings 1-15-18.