Nearly every day since the pandemic began, the University of Kansas Health System has provided daily updates on how COVID-19 is impacting the region’s healthcare system and community. Leading those updates with special guests have been Chief Medical Officer Steven Stites, MD, and Dana Hawkinson, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control.
The Vision to Action Award is the highest recognition awarded by the Center and reserved for those who have demonstrated through their leadership, vision and commitment the highest ethical standards of conduct driven by shared values and virtues.
In accepting the award, Dr. Stites stipulates that he does so on behalf of patients, families, advocates of science, healthcare professionals, essential workers and public health officials responding to COVID across the region.
Dr. Stites specializes in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and serves a dual role as Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs and Senior Vice President for Clinical Affairs for The University of Kansas Hospital Authority.
As Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs, he works to fully integrate clinical departments into a wider-reaching health system and to ensure a strong strategic plan for educating future physicians and growing the academic strength of clinical programs. As Senior Vice President for Clinical Affairs, Dr. Stites has responsibilities especially in the area of clinical programs and practice development, as well as strategic planning and education.
Under his leadership, the Department of Internal Medicine saw significant growth. Six Internal Medicine divisions — pulmonary medicine, nephrology, cardiology, oncology, endocrinology and gastroenterology — earned top 50 U.S. News and World Report rankings in 2013. The medical intensive care unit is one of the country's best, with a Beacon Award to its name.
In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Dr. Stites directs KU Medical Center's Cystic Fibrosis Center, having founded the adult CF program in 1994. It's now one of the larger adult programs in the United States, with more than 150 patients.
His areas of research include investigating different methods of airway clearance for adult CF patients and how these affect the distribution of inhaled medicines. He has also written at length on the ways and means of developing mission-based funding for academic departments: the Educational Value Unit (EVU) system — specifically aligning salary support for faculty with each individual's educational responsibilities — which he published in 2005, has been adopted by several other institutions.
Deborah Sosland-Edelman and Alan Edelman Debbie is the Executive Director of the Sosland Foundation, where she administers grants to social welfare, education, health-related, civic, cultural arts and Jewish organizations in the Kansas City area. She earned her doctoral degree in developmental and child psychology from the University of Kansas and her undergraduate degree from Smith College. Alan is the former Director of Engagement and Leadership Development for the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City. He earned his Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Kansas. In addition to serving on the board of the Center for Practical Bioethics, Alan’s volunteer efforts focus on inter-faith and multi-cultural programming, including guest theologian for many churches, universities and seminaries. Combined, Alan and Debbie serve or have served on more than 35 local, regional, national and international boards and committees. They are the proud parents of three children and two grandchildren.
Last fall, when we chose the Ethics Champions theme for the 2020 Annual Dinner, we could have never anticipated the significance of its meaning or impact. Doubtless, many of the Champions that our institutional partners nominated to be honored in our original evening program consider themselves simply colleagues among a vast legion of champions who have literally and willingly placed their lives on the line daily for weeks in a way they never dreamed would be asked of them. We honor them all in tribute to what they represent in the face of unrelenting and overwhelming adversity. We honor their courage, conviction, perseverance and spirit in responding to the greatest global health tragedy in more than a century. We honor their “doing the right thing” and their belief that in doing so something better comes of it.
CONFRONTING ETHICAL CHALLENGES
In our Annual Report you will find a summary of the Center’s work in 2019 and a brief overview since the coronavirus pandemic redirected our efforts. The 2019 accomplishments are significant, and we remain grateful for your support of those programs and our eagerness to return to them in the future. This report also demonstrates the Center’s ability to respond quickly to the needs of our stakeholders and constituents. Finally, this report speaks to the importance of ethics in all our lives and livelihoods. The ethical challenges that lie ahead for this country and world are monumental and, quite frankly, a little overwhelming.
HOLDING OURSELVES ACCOUNTABLE
The devastation wreaked by this tiny virus will cause a reckoning for decades to come. It has laid bare the deep divisions and fissures of inequity and injustice in our healthcare systems. We will all be held accountable, individually and collectively, for how we raise and respond to the questions of what ought we to do, as we remain vigilant and begin to rebuild.
The Center stands with its Ethics Champions – all of them everywhere – in steadfast commitment to our core value: respect for human dignity. We must rebuild a health system that recognizes the intrinsic worth of all persons, listens to the voices of every child, youth, adult and elder of every tongue, embracing all forms of ability. We must rebuild a health system, an economy and a community that measures success in terms of how the least among us is served. Justice is not a notion; it is our imperative.
As science, technology and engineering expand what we can do in medicine, questions about what we should do grow more complex and consequential. The Center for Practical Bioethics has been “doing ethics” by raising and responding to ethical issues in health and healthcare since 1984.
Providing guidance for patients, families and clinicians struggling with ethically complex issues in medicine and research.
Teaching bioethics to healthcare providers, students, clinicians and consumers.
Creating guidelines, developing programs, publishing resources and advising decision makers.
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AN EVENING TO CELEBRATE
THE PEOPLE AND PROVIDERS
WHO STAND UP FOR HEALTHCARE ETHICS
Learn how ethics committees help patients, families and providers.
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Honor ethics champions who strengthen our community.
The 2020 Annual Dinner, to have taken place on April 21 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown – Muehlebach Tower, was not held due to the coronavirus. It is noteworthy that Terry Rosell, the person to whom we would have presented the Vision to Action Award in person at the Dinner, is now in the forefront of action in our community responding to the ethical issues raised by the pandemic.
The Center also wishes to thank the Dinner’s Honorary Co-Chairs, Debbie Sosland-Edelman and Alan Edelman and Joan and Steve Israelite, for their time, effort and commitment to ensuring the event’s virtual success.
& Alan Edelman
Joan and Steve Israelite