Key Topics on End-of-Life Care

In Tribute: Who Always Spoke Truth to Power

Marian Gray Secundy, Ph.D.

Dr. Secundy was the director of the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care from 1999 to 2002. The first of its kind in the nation, the Center explored the core issues that underlie research about, and the medical treatment of, African Americans and other underserved people.

Between 1971 and 1999, she was the professor and director of the program in clinical ethics, Howard University College of Medicine, Department of Community Health and Family Practice. Her research interests included the ethical dimensions of patient care and minority aging. Dr. Secundy had been a consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and had served on several National Institutes of Health advisory panels. She was a former member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Hospice Licensure in the District of Columbia and the National Capital Health Ministries. Dr. Secundy was a visiting scholar at the Pritzker School of Medicine (University of Chicago), the Health Policy Institute (University of San Francisco), and the University of Cape Town, Republic of South Africa, among others.

Throughout her career Dr. Secundy worked tirelessly to correct the racial injustices and insensitivities that have blighted the United States health care system for centuries and continue to this day. As a bioethicist with a background in social work, she understood the ethical legal and social consequences of race in the health care of African Americans, and she addressed these issues openly and boldly. A major focus of her work was on training and engaging health care professionals in areas of ethics, human values in patient care and death and dying.

It was Dr. Secundy who garnered funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for The Last Miles of the Way Home conference. Unfortunately, she passed away before she could see her efforts bear fruit. This body of work is the realization of Dr. Secundy’s vision, dedication and commitment.