CCTS Bioethics Forum
Friday, March 19, 2021

  • The 2021 CCTS Bioethics Forum has wrapped! If you're interested in viewing or sharing the event recording, click here. We hope to see you at next year's forum!

    The CCTS Bioethics Forum brings together researchers, bioethicists, students, community members, front-line research staff, and clinical staff to discuss ethical issues in research. This year's event will focus on the topic of "Equity and Trust for COVID-19 Testing, Treatment, and Vaccination:  Where Do We Go from Here?"

    COVID-19 has presented us with a watershed moment globally, but adequate, actionable response to the pandemic in the United States of America continues to be a troubling matter. Misinformation and disinformation fill our social media fueling distrust. Compared to affluent communities, rural and communities of color bear a disproportionate burden of suffering, cases, deaths, testing and treatment allocations.  The unacceptable inequity is apparent. Urgent action for redress is pressing but complicated. Conversation to stimulate collective wisdom is needed.

    This CCTS Bioethics Forum provides a safe space and proactive stance for invited experts and pertinent stakeholders to highlight accurately “what we know” and to reflect on approaches that can inform “what we ought to do” individually, institutionally,  and collectively to drive effective policy and law. 

    Bioethics Forum Sponsors


  • Mercedes Morales-Aléman, PhD
    Mercedes Morales-Aléman, PhD | Assistant Professor
    Department of Community Medicine and Population Health | University of Alabama
    Background: Graduate of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez and Michigan State University.
    Fun Fact: She serves as the chair of the College of Community Health Sciences Committee for Academic Diversity and Inclusion.
    Research Focus: Sexual health and health care access among ethnic minority women in the US South.
    Thomas Beavers, DMin
    Thomas Beavers, DMin | Pastor
    New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church
    Background: Graduate of Kentucky State University and Beeson Divinity School of Samford University
    Fun Fact: He succeeded his grandfather, who served as the pastor of his church for 35 years.
    Ministry Focus: Efforts that impact the community in education, financial literacy, workforce development, housing, and recreation as well as developing a better quality of life on earth.
    Lateshe Elopre, MD
    Latesha Elopre, MD | Epidemiologist
    Assistant Professor of Medicine | University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Background: Graduate of the University of Florida. She then underwent Internal Medicine Residency and Infectious Diseases’ Fellowship training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. During this time, she also received her MSPH in Applied Epidemiology.
    Fun Fact: She has won both the Dean’s Excellence Award in Diversity and the Unsung Hero Award at UAB.
    Research Focus: Social determinants of health for STDs, including HIV.
    Richard Goldsby, PhD
    Richard Goldsby, PhD | Professor Emeritus
    Biology | Amherst College
    Background: Graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and has served as professor of biology at Amherst College since 1982.
    Fun Fact: He has an interest in the biology of race, which arose from efforts to understand the biological roots of the debates about a relationship between race and behavior and has published work on the subject.
    Research Focus: He is an immunologist, interested in the cellular and molecular biology of the immune response.
    Lillie Head
    Lillie Head | President
    Voices for our Fathers
    Background: Lillie Head’s father, Freddie Lee Tyson, is one of more than 600 men who were enrolled in the Tuskegee Institute Syphilis Study. She founded Voices for our Fathers as a way to connect other relatives of the study’s victims across generations, to provide annual scholarships to descendants of participants, and to participate in the Research Project: “The Untold Story”.
    Fun Fact: She leads efforts to offer support and guidance to the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, while pursuing all other strategic plans. 
    Michael Saag, MD
    Michael Saag, MD | Professor/Associate Dean
    Infectious Disease | University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Background: Graduate of Tulane University and the University of Louisville. He completed his residency and infectious disease and molecular virology fellowship training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
    Fun Fact: Founded the 1917 Clinic, a comprehensive AIDS treatment and research center at UAB, more than 30 years ago.
    Research Focus: HIV/AIDS infection control, Antiretroviral therapy, HIV/AIDS research, and Hepatitis C diagnosis and therapy.
  • David Chaplin, MD, PhD
    Emeritus Professor
    Department of Microbiology
    School of Medicine
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    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.

    Faith Fletcher, PhD, MA
    Assistant Professor
    Department of Health Behavior
    School of Public Health
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Faith E. Fletcher, PhD, MA is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health in the Department of Health Behavior. The overall goal of Dr. Fletcher’s research program is to develop and implement community- and clinic-based social and behavioral research to reduce HIV-related disparities among African American women. Her research is grounded in methodological and theoretical approaches from public health, bioethics, and behavioral science. Additional training offered through Fordham University’s HIV Research Ethics Training Institute has positioned her to conduct empirical research ethics studies to examine and address health disparities among HIV-positive women with respect to the ethics of research participation. In particular, Dr. Fletcher seeks to develop ethical policies and strategies to alleviate vulnerability to HIV-related stigma associated with health care setting and research study engagement. To date, Dr. Fletcher’s research has been funded through the University of Illinois at Chicago Program for Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women's Health Research K12 Fellowship, Society of Family Planning, Center for AIDS Research, Center for Clinical and Translational Science, Kaiser Permanente Burch Minority Leadership Program, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Dissertation Program (R36). For her commitment to health disparities and social justice, Dr. Fletcher was a 2017 recipient of the National Minority Quality Forum’s 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health Award. Her educational background includes a BS in Biology from Tuskegee University; MA in Bioethics, Humanities, and Society from Michigan State University; and PhD in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Fletcher also completed a National Cancer Institute R25T-funded Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Behavioral Science at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

    Chiquita Lee, MBA, MPA
    Program Manager
    Tuskegee University
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Chiquita Lee is the Program Manager for two major research programs at Tuskegee University, the Morehouse School of Medicine/Tuskegee University/University of Alabama at Birmingham O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center Partnership and the Center for Biomedical Research/Research Centers in Minority Institutions (CBR/RCMI). Any successes experienced by these multi-million dollar funding resources is directly attributed to the dedication, work ethic, and professionalism she puts forth daily to make these programs and Tuskegee University stand out. Chiquita has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Tuskegee University, a Masters of Business Administration from Troy University Montgomery and a Masters of Public Administration from Auburn University Montgomery. She also completed the prestigious Administration/Leadership class at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her past employments with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Former Alabama’s Lieutenant Governor the late Lucy Baxley, Tuskegee University’s Financial Aid Department (Associate Director) and other entities have afforded her an enormous wealth of knowledge in the fields of politics, administration, accounting, management and public relations. These have been very beneficial to the accomplishments of the Cancer Partnership and the CBR/RCMI Programs.

    Lisa McCormick
    Associate Dean
    Public Health Practice
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    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
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    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.

    Mariko Nakano, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Department of Medical Education
    School of Medicine
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Mariko Nakano-Okuno, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Bioethics at the Department of Medical Education, UAB 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 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. He has been NIH funded since 1999, when he left the Federal Government for academia.

    Rebecca Reamey, PhD, MA
    Program Director
    Center for Clinical & Translational Science
    Scientific Community of Outcomes Researchers
    School of Medicine
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Dr. Rebecca Reamey has over 15 years of experience in curriculum design, program management, and teaching. She has a background in higher education student development with an emphasis in professional and workforce development. Dr. Reamey’s research and scholarship focus on program evaluation and training outcomes. She coordinates efforts to continuously improve the training opportunities within the CCTS Partner Network for the Training Academy and is a member of the Training Academy Steering Committee.

    Shekwonya Samuel
    PhD Student, Health Education and Promotions
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Shekwonya Evelyn Samuel is a first year PhD student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she is pursuing a degree in Health Education and Promotions (HEP). She has a background in microbiology and holds a Master of Public Health degree. Ms. Samuel’s main research interest is in Infectious diseases and she is also concerned about bioethics and health disparities among underserved populations. She currently supports research efforts with the Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education (COERE). 

    Stephen Sodeke, PhD, MA

    Professor & Resident Bioethicist & Professor of Bioethics
    Center for Biomedical Research & Modern Languages, Communication, and Philosophy
    Tuskegee University
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    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:

    Becky Reamey, PhD
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Stephen Sodeke, PhD
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.