Who are we?

The CBHP includes faculty and staff of Augusta University, its Medical Center, and community. The CBHP seeks to provide ethical and sound healthcare policy solutions to perennial healthcare problems and those that  arise secondary to rapid advances in the delivery of healthcare.

 

In 2003, Dr. Alan Roberts, an internist recruited to the Medical College of Georgia, initiated an ethics consultative service for the medical center. He recruited faculty, pastoral care, and risk management personnel to the original ethics committee. Dr. Roberts was dedicated to providing his patients the best care and to his students a superior an ethically based training.

In October of 2011, Dr. Roberts died but left a strong legacy from which a new committee was formed and officially charged with clinical consultations, education of the AUMC faculty and staff, the development and revision of policy, and to do research. The Committee’s mission remained as follows:

  • To provide ethical recommendations, guidelines and policies for our clinical staff, students, and our patients and their families.
  • To educate all of our students, inclusive of the public, about ethical care and caring.
  • To perform research that will contribute to the delivery of improved healthcare, especially for the chronically ill and patients at the end of life.

This very academic charge was interpreted by the committee to expand its membership so that all of the charges could be achieved. Medical Ethics became a very exciting topic to staff, students, and individuals from all disciplines. Volunteers from all of the Augusta University Colleges and the community came forward to lend their talents to the mission. Medical students received a grant to establish a Leadership Through Ethics program that has selected 16 students per class to participate. A similar group of students is developing a Leadership Through Health Policy to expand the students' understanding of how health policy is developed, comes to fruition, and to become advocates for good health policies. Both of these groups have reached out to nursing and allied health students so that they can work collaboratively and as team mates.

In October of 2016, the Center for Bioethics and Health Policy was approved. It is a virtual entity with a Division of Clinical Consultative Service, a Division of Education, which is developing curricula for students, faculty, staff, and both faith based and secular communities. It is also involved in the development of both Certificate and Master’s degree programs. The Division of Health Policy is planning to work on local policy development and large data sets. The Division of Research has a data coordinating center and will work with members of the Center and other collaborators on campus.

From the original cadre of eight members the Center has grown to almost 100 dedicated, passionate members from many academic disciplines, including three physician medical ethicists and four Ph.D. medical ethicists with interest in health policy.  There is strong representation from the community participants and patient advocates. Our vision is to develop a culture that is entirely ethically based and provides care based on the input of the entire healthcare team, realizing that the nurse at the bedside often knows the patient’s and family’s wishes most intimately.

“Dr. Alan Roberts was the conscience of the Department of Medicine and arguably, the entire University.” 

Dr. Lee Merchen at the November 16, 2011 Memorial Service

"He was an outstanding physician, well loved by all. He brought issues that were difficult to discuss to the forefront with an understated compassion that forced us to personalize the difficulties our patients and families were encountering. He was a tireless advocate for his patients and understood their journey with compassion and humility. He never stopped viewing each of his patients as individuals struggling to be well and striving for health, but also offered care and assistance in their final days.

He was a role model and inspiration for students, residents and faculty alike." Dr. Roberts served as the Chair of the Bioethics Committee of Georgia Health Sciences University (now Augusta University) from 2003 until his last breath on October 9, 2011.

Dr. Alan Roberts