CCTS Bioethics Forum

"TRANSLATIONAL SCIENCE AND THE MARCH TO HEALTH EQUITY"

 Friday, February 18, 2022
11:00AM-1:00PM


  • The 2022 CCTS Bioethics Forum has ended. If you were unable to attend, check out the recap and recording of the event. We hope to see you at next year's event!

    Translational scientists focus on improving the health of individuals and the public, but there are many ethical questions that must be continually explored and debated. This year’s bioethics forum explores systemic racism with a goal to express the most effective measures to combat or mitigate the issues of health inequity in translational research. The Forum will feature expert panelists sharing their unique perspectives on these three questions: What needs to remain the same? What must change? Where do we go from here? The goal of this interactive event is to share, listen, and explore how we might work toward bringing about sustainable health equity.

    Each year, the CCTS Bioethics Forum brings together researchers, bioethicists, students, community members, front-line research staff, and clinical staff to discuss ethical issues in research. We invite you to register and join the conversation!
  • Rev. Derrol Dawkins, MD

    Rev. Derrol Dawkins, MD

    Pediatrician, Metro Pediatrics | Pastor, New Start Covenant of Grace Church, Birmingham, AL
    Background: I am the founding Pediatrician, President and Owner of Metro Pediatrics P.C. as well as the Senior Pastor of New Start Covenant Of Grace. I have been practicing since 1984 this being the 38th year. I have served as Senior Pastor for 32 years. I am committed to using my God given gifts to serve others and consider both responsibilities as ministry.
    Professional/Ministry Focus: My focus is in Pediatric primary care taking care of infants, children, and adolescents in a comprehensive fashion in the Metropolitan Birmingham Community. My ministry focus is in pastoral and teaching ministry at New Start.
    Fun Fact: I have been married to Patricia H. Dawkins for 43 years this year.

    Lucenia W. Dunn, PhD

    Lucenia W. Dunn, PhD

    President/CEO, Tuskegee-Macon County Community Foundation, Inc. | Former Mayor, City of Tuskegee, Alabama
    Background: I was born in rural Georgia and grew up in Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. My first job right out of college was with the Tuskegee Institute Community Education (TICEP) where I taught children by day and adults by night. This experience changed my life. While not a politician in the traditional sense, I let my high school classmates talk me into running for Mayor of the City of Tuskegee and to my surprise, I won with 63% of the vote. I decided to run because I wanted to create change in an historic city via that office.
    Professional Focus: TICEP also had a great deal to do with my current position as Founder President/CEO of the Tuskegee Macon County Community Foundation, Inc. (TMCCF, Inc.). The focus of the foundation is the reduction of health and economic disparities in the Alabama Black Belt counties.
    Fun Fact: My love for dance made it easy to become a majorette at Tuskegee Institute High School from the 9th to the 12th grade and the teacher was Mrs. Alice Coachman Davis, the first African American Female Olympic gold medal winner in high jump. I belonged to a girl singing group as well.

    Bruce Korf, MD, PhD

    Bruce Korf, MD, PhD

    Associate Dean for Genomic Medicine at UAB Heersink School of Medicine | Chief Genomic Officer, UAB Medicine
    Background: I am a physician-scientist with training in pediatrics, medical genetics, and child neurology.  I came to UAB in 2003 as the inaugural chair of the Department of Genetics and now am Associate Dean for Genomic Medicine.
    Research Focus: My major area of research focus is implementation of genomics in medical practice. I also have a longstanding interest in the diagnosis and treatment of the genetic condition neurofibromatosis.
    Fun Fact: I am training for a half marathon, which I hope to run this spring if COVID permits it.

    Lucio Miele, PhD

    Lucio Miele, MD, PhD

    Co-Director, CCTS | Site Lead, LSU Health Sciences Center | Assistant Dean of Translational Science | Chair, LSUHSC Department of Genetics
    Background: I am a translational researcher, with strong interests in health disparities and have been working with communities in Louisiana and Mississippi for the past 13 years.
    Research Focus: The relationship between obesity, diabetes, social determinants of health and outcomes in cancer and now COVID-19.
    Fun Fact: On weekends I live and work on a horse farm. My hobby is to train and ride horses.

    Rev. Deonna D. Neal, PhD

    Rev. Deonna D. Neal, PhD

    Interim Rector, St. John's Episcopal Church, Montgomery, AL | Chair, USA Triathlon Ethics Committee
    Background: For nearly 16 years I was a bi-vocational priest, where I served both as an Episcopal priest for local churches and an Ethics professor for the US Air Force. I left my job as a professor to be full-time parish priest in 2021. I am currently serving as the interim rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Montgomery, AL. I come from a military family and served as an officer in the USAF for 5 years before I went to seminary and then pursued further graduate work at the University of Oxford and Notre Dame.
    Professional Focus: My academic expertise is in Christian ethics. Specifically, I teach and write on issues relating to professional ethics, military ethics, and the ethics of technology. I am interested in the intersections of church and state and Christianity and modern culture.
    Fun Fact:
    I am a glider flight instructor.

    Victoria L. Seewaldt, MD

    Victoria L. Seewaldt, MD

    Ruth Ziegler Chair in Population Sciences | Chair, Department of Population Sciences | City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
    Background: I was born to a family that came out of poverty - my mother was born in a house with a dirt floor and no running water. I was the second in my family to go to college. I believe that all people should be treated equally and research should benefit everyone.
    Research Focus: My research focuses on early aggressive biology of breast cancer, particularly for women of African-descent. This is because I saw too many young women die of aggressive breast cancer. I want to make a difference.
    Fun Fact: I have 9 chickens, including a rooster named Tom. Tom likes to join in any lectures I give. Note: No chickens are eaten at our house.

    Clayton Yates, PhD

    Clayton Yates, PhD

    Professor, Department of Biology and Center for Cancer Research | Director of Center for Biomedical Research | Tuskegee University
    Background: I am training is in cell and molecular pathology. My research focuses on identifying molecular and genetic differences associated with patients with African Ancestry. 
    What led me to my position:
    My work cross both scientific bench work, potentially impacts patients, and has ethical consideration.
    Fun Fact:
    I like superhero movies.
  • David Chaplin, MD, PhD
    Emeritus Professor
    Department of Microbiology
    Heersink School of Medicine
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
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    Dr. Chaplin completed his undergraduate education at Harvard University in 1973, then undertook graduate training in the MD/PhD program at Washington University, graduating in 1980. He completed two years of Internal Medicine Residency at U of Texas/Southwestern Medical School, Parkland Memorial Hospital. His post-doctoral research training was with Dr. J.G. Seidman in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, studying the genetics of the murine major histocompatibility complex. In 1984, he accepted a position as Associate Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Molecular Microbiology, and Genetics at Washington University in St. Louis. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1992, and Professor in 1995. He was Director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology from 1994-2001. In July 2001, he joined the faculty of UAB and served as Charles H. McCauley Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology until 2012. He became Emeritus Professor in 2020.

    Holden Habermacher
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    Holden is a high school junior at The Montgomery Academy in Montgomery, Alabama. She created a curriculum for narrative medicine and participated in a vaccine ethics working group for New York University’s Bioethics Department. Holden created an Alabama COVID-19 Resource app that compiled the testing, vaccine, and volunteer information for the state of Alabama. She is an active member of the National Student Bioethics Association and VaxTeen.

    Clifford Kennon, EdS, MPA, CPP
    Program Director
    CCTS Engagement of Communities
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    Clifford Kennon brings over 25+ years to CCTS in higher education administration coming most recently from UAB Family & Community Medicine. He is a UAB alumnus earning a B.A. in Mass Communications; Master’s of Public Administration (M.P.A.) and the Educational Specialist (Ed.S) degree in Educational Leadership. Additionally he has completed UAB doctoral level coursework toward the Educational Leadership degree.  Kennon also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Birmingham Urban League, a civil rights organization focused on justice, employment and education in underserved communities; the Fellowship House of Birmingham, a local nonprofit charity that provides recovery services to adults with substance dependencies; the Memorial Fund Scholarship Board which provides scholarships to students at UAB and Miles College in memory of the four girls killed in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, where he serves as the Southern Region Associate Dean of Professional Development.  He supports organizations such as UNCF; his high school alma mater, Woodlawn High School, and charity walks such as the Breast Cancer 5K Walk with Brenda’s Brown Bosom Buddies, March of Dimes Walk and the St. Jude Walk.  He also enjoys spending time with his family and has interests in alternative education models such as homeschooling, diversity in higher education, mentoring through fraternal groups, career education and priority populations such as youth and people of color.

    Bruce Korf, MD, PhD
    Associate Dean for Genomic Medicine at UAB Heersink School of Medicine
    Chief Genomic Officer, UAB Medicine
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    Dr. Bruce Korf completed his undergraduate studies and MD at Cornell University and received a PhD in genetics and cell biology from Rockefeller University. He then did training in pediatrics, child neurology, and genetics at Children’s Hospital, Boston, and is board certified in all three areas, as well as clinical cytogenetics and clinical molecular genetics. He served as clinical director and associate chief of the Children’s Hospital, Boston Division of Genetics until 1999, when he assumed the role of medical director of the Harvard-Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics. In 2003 he moved to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is the Wayne H. and Sara Crews Finley Chair in Medical Genetics, Associate Dean for Genomic Medicine, UAB Heersink School of Medicine, Chief Genomics Officer, UAB Medicine and Co-Director of the UAB-HudsonAlpha Center for Genomic Medicine. His research focus is the genetics and treatment of neurofibromatosis type 1 and he also has a major interest in genetics and genomics education and the integration of genetics into medical practice.

    Lisa McCormick, DrPH
    Professor and Associate Dean for Public Health Practice
    Department of Environmental Health Science
    School of Public Health
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
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    Dr. McCormick is the Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the UAB School of Public Health. She is the Lead Evaluator for the Region IV Public Health Training Center, Director of the Research Education Core for the UAB CounterACT Research Center of Excellence in Arsenicals, Director of the Research Experience Training Coordination Core for the UAB Superfund Research Center, and an Investigator with Live HealthSmart Alabama. Dr. McCormick's research and scholarship focus on program evaluation, workforce development, and public health preparedness.

    Lucio Miele, MD, PhD

    Professor and Chair
    Department of Genetics
    University of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
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    Dr. Miele is the Head of the 17-faculty Genetics Department at LSUHSC. He oversees the newly created Precision Medicine Program and Bioinformatics and Genomics Research Program. He also serves in the following capacities: LA CaTS Center: Director of Biomedical Informatics; LSUHSC Stanley Scott Cancer Center, Director for Inter-Institutional Programs; UAB CCTS Partner Network: Co-Director; Mid-South TCC on Social Determinants of Health Disparities: LSUHSC PI. Molecular genetics has been at the core of Dr. Miele’s research since his PhD work at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin and his fellowship at Human Genetics Branch (NICHD). Dr. Miele was a member of the Division of Clinical Trials Design and Analysis at CBER, FDA and has served as co-chair of the NCI CTEP task force on clinical trials targeting cancer stem cells. Dr. Miele is an experienced manager of large projects. At the UMMC Cancer Institute, Dr. Miele oversaw 11 full member faculty and 30 associate members, organized into 3 basic and one clinical program. Al LSUHSC, Dr. Miele has taken the lead in precision medicine, creating the Precision Medicine Program and becoming the site PI for the Southern “All of Us” initiative, as well as receiving an NCI P20 grant in partnership with Moffitt Comprehensive Cancer Center to perform cancer health disparities precision medicine research and training of investigators in cancer health disparities research. Dr. Miele has authored over 225 peer-reviewed publications in biomedical journals to date. He regularly chairs scientific grant review panels for NIH, NCI, NCATS, the DOD and research funding agencies from European and Asian countries. He serves as Editor or Associate Editor of several biomedical journals, and has consulted for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies regarding oncology drug development. Dr. Miele’s research is focused on breast cancer, with particular interest in cancer health disparities, precision medicine, breast cancer stem cells, genomics, and experimental therapeutics. He has been NIH funded since 1999, when he left the Federal Government for academia.

    Meena Nabavi, MPH
    Program Manager
    Department of Environmental Health Science/Office of Public Health Practice
    School of Public Health
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
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    Ms. Meena Nabavi is a Program Manager with the Department of Environmental Health Science and Office of Public Health Practice at the UAB School of Public Health. She completed her undergraduate degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and her Master’s in Public Health (MPH) at UAB. In addition to serving as internship advisor for MPH students, Ms. Nabavi works on several university wide initiatives including the UAB CounterACT Research Center of Excellence in Arsenicals, the Alabama Regional Center for Infection Prevention and Control Training and Technical Assistance, and the UAB Gulf Scholars Program.

    Mariko Nakano, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Department of Medical Education
    Heersink School of Medicine
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
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    Mariko Nakano-Okuno, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Bioethics at the Department of Medical Education, UAB Heersink School of Medicine, and Co-leader of the Bioethics Working Group for the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative. She is engaged in the medical ethics curriculum at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, teaches medical ethics courses, serves as a member of Hospital Ethics Committees, among her other missions at UAB. Her scholarly work includes both highly theoretical pieces such as Sidgwick and Contemporary Utilitarianism (monograph, Palgrave McMillan, 2011) and writings in applied bioethics such as "Ethics of iPSC-Based Clinical Research for Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Patient-Centered Risk-Benefit Analysis" (Stem Cell Reviews and Reports, 2014) therapeutics.

    Stephen Sodeke, PhD, MA

    Resident Bioethicist & Professor of Bioethics and Allied Health Sciences
    Center for Biomedical Research & Modern Languages, Communication, and Philosophy
    Tuskegee University
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    Dr. Sodeke is Resident Bioethicist and Professor of Allied Health Sciences and Bioethics at Tuskegee University Center for Biomedical Research and the College of Arts and Sciences. He is chair of the Tuskegee University Institutional Review Board. He serves as bioethicist for the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative (AGHI), and for the Southern All of  Us Research Network. He additionally serves as Resource Expert for NGO Bioethics Beyond Boarders. At various periods during the past 17 years, Dr. Sodeke has served as Associate Director and Interim Director of the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care. He holds a PhD in curriculum and instruction in allied health education, supervision, and administration from the University of Florida, master’s degrees in clinical laboratory sciences education and guidance from Texas Christian University, and in bioethics and health policy from Loyola University of Chicago. Dr. Sodeke also holds certifications in bioethics from Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University as well as in health care ethics from University of Washington in Seattle. He has authored and co-authored several articles in professional journals, and co-authored four book chapters. He participates in ethics consultations and speaking engagements that promote the goals and purposes of bioethics in medical, biomedical, and behavioral research, locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • For more information about the CCTS Bioethics Forum contact:

    Stephen Sodeke, PhD
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    Katie Bradford
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