Smith receives the medal at Samford University.
Smith receives the award at Samford University.

Patrick Smith, associate research professor of theological ethics and bioethics and senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, has received the Pellegrino Award at Samford University's 2022 Healthcare Ethics and Law Institute's (HEAL) annual conference in Birmingham, Ala.

Said Dr. Scott Bickel, director of the Office of Faith and Health at Samford University: "The Healthcare Ethics and Law Institute was created as an interdisciplinary effort within Samford University in 1999 to support the unique and complex relationships between patients and healthcare providers. We host an annual conference on a current topic addressing some of the most pressing issues in healthcare and law. As part of the conference, we honor an individual with the Pellegrino Award, named after Dr. Edmund D. Pellegrino, considered the 'father of the American bioethics movement.'"

The topic of this year's HEAL conference was "Coming out of the Pandemic: Where are we mentally?" It was designed to discuss the sharp rise in anxiety and depression following the COVID-19 pandemic and the ramifications of this shift in mental health for society as a whole.

As the HEAL keynote speaker and Pellegrino awardee, Smith gave the lecture, "Social Ethics Aspects: Racism, Mental Health, and Advancing Justice in Health Care," and spoke about the importance of bringing these issues to students while they are still in training as health care providers. 

“Bringing these issues into the conversation while students are being trained and formed in a particular way gives them not only a wider array of tools to use but also how to utilize those tools better because they are able to practice the use of those tools in their training,” he said.

Previous Pellegrino Medalists from Duke Divinity School include Dr. Farr Curlin, Josiah C. Trent Professor of Medical Humanities, in 2019 and Stanley Hauerwas, GIlbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, in 2008.