Students Set Direction for SMU Ethics Center

SMU junior Rylee Bailey poses against the railing of Washington D.C. balcony. Three blocks in the background, beyond a small forest of oak trees and bustling streets stands the ivory dome of the Capitol Building.

Social distancing and self-isolation, “requires discipline, mental toughness, and courage; not traits I particularly associated with myself.” This was an early realization shared by Southern Methodist University junior Rylee Bailey in her March, 2020 pandemic blog. Bailey, a student staff member at SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, began writing and sharing the blog on social media when the campus shutdown.

Institute Develops Ethics Framework for Decision-makers Addressing COVID

The darkness of dusk falls over a New England colonial style, two level red brick building which occupies the center of the image; Deering Hall. The building's face is lit by two incandescent sconces bordering a white wood and glass door atop a small porch staircase. A symmetrical collection of windows adorns the building's face, contrasting the shadowed city scape in the background.

The pandemic fractured normal life, creating a call to action for the public-facing Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. By the end of May, the Institute had issued a white paper, An Ethics Framework for the COVID-19 Reopening Process, to aid decision-makers from small business owners to governmental leaders at the local, state and national levels.

Teaching Leaders to Listen

Two Tuskegee students purchase a small basket of sweet potatoes from a local vendor as the bustle of a monthly farmer's market carries on in the background. An assortment of produce is displayed on the table between them, vibrant colors gleaming through the shade of the market's awning.

A university ethics center founded on a Presidential apology for unethical research has practical application written into its DNA. Today, The National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University continues a 20 plus-year tradition of addressing health, health disparities and social justice.