Robert M. Sade, M.D., Director
The mission of the Institute of Human Values in Health Care is to conduct interdisciplinary research and to publish analytic studies that relate human values to the development of health policy, legislation, and systems of delivery of patient care, and that advance knowledge and understanding of the ethical conduct of research. Through its work, the Institute serves as a resource for educational institutions, for health care organizations, and for local, state and federal government, as well as for clinical and translational research programs throughout South Carolina.
The Institute of Human Values in Health Care was created in 1994 by Robert M. Sade, MD, Professor of Surgery at MUSC, with the advice and support of Layton McCurdy, MD, then Dean of the College of Medicine, as an interdisciplinary program dedicated to scholarly inquiry at the intersection of bioethics with health policy. In 1999, the Institute assumed management of the Thomas A Pitts Memorial Lectureship in Medical Ethics, a major conference held at MUSC annually. The Institute is a chartered entity of the Medical University of South Carolina.
This primary focus continued until 2009, when, consequent to a grant under the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Award program, the Institute added a new focus on research ethics after it assumed a central role in the Clinical Research Ethics core component of MUSC’s South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR). The interdisciplinary membership of the Institute is drawn from the medical, humanities, and social sciences faculties of the Medical University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston, the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, and the Charleston School of Law. The work of the Institute is augmented by contributions from other scholars in South Carolina.
The symbol of the Institute's purpose is a leafed branch of the willow tree, representing one of the oldest known remedies--bark and leaves of the willow tree-- mentioned by the ancient Egyptians (Edwin Smith Papyrus, Case Forty-one)¹ 3700 years ago and Greeks 2400 years ago (Hippocratic Corpus) for the treatment of inflammation, headache, pain, and fever. The use of salicin (derived from trees of the genus Salix, the willow) in the form of salicylic acid or acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) as a remedy has been continuous since ancient times, just as Hippocrates' principles of medical ethics has been virtually continuous over the same period. The willow branch connects human values with health care by symbolizing the continuity of Hippocrates' legacies of medical ethics and medical treatment over millennia into the present day.