Center for the Study of Human Dignity and Ethics in Health Care

About the Center


Listen to Brother Ignatius, former Dean of Nursing and founder of the Center, talking about the Center on the Son Rise Morning Show with Brian Patrick, from the morning of Friday, November 22, 2013.


The Mission of the Center for the Study of Human Dignity and Ethics in Health Care, built upon the Catholic-Dominican Tradition of Aquinas College, is to affirm, protect and defend the dignity of the human person through education, consultation, research and service.

Core Values

  • dignity, freedom and flourishing of the human person
  • caring presence, compassion, hope and healing
  • professional integrity, accountability, ethical behaviors, formation of the moral conscience through moral communities
  • advocacy and respect for diversity especially vulnerable persons
  • commitmentto collaboration, partnerships, and community service
  • promoting the healing relationship in caring for the whole person (emotionally, physically, psychologically, spiritually)

Core Strategies

  • provide community-wide educational opportunities for health care professionals, civil    leaders, legislators and citizens of the community (seminars, multi-disciplinary forms, etc.) which address current issues in health care, education, administration, and scholarship
  • provide consultation, conduct research, and disseminate findings;
  • build collaborative partnerships with the health care community locally, nationally and  internationally
  • provide forums for presentations by visiting scholars
  • develop model learning outcomes for health professions students that embrace the Mission and Core Values of the Center
  • honor members of the health professions and the community who have distinguished achievements in defending and protecting the dignity and flourishing of the human person

Support Strategies

  • secure funding for operations and ongoing support of the Center
  • develop and implement policies and procedures to further the mission of the Center
  • appoint a representative standing committee to provide oversight and accountability for the Center’s operation, management, planning and assessment;
  • interface with currently existing support structures of Aquinas College and the community

Advisory Council

Local and national leaders in health care, business, and religion comprise the Council. Their duty to the Center is to identify current and emerging trends in health care and promote the Center’s important contributions to the needs of health care professionals and the community.

Subhi Ali, M.D., General Surgeon
Maysoon Shocair Ali, M.D. Internal Medicine
Sister Elizabeth Anne Allen, O.P., Ed.D. Professor of Education and Provost and Vice President for Academics, Aquinas College
L. Antoinette Bargagliotti, D.N.Sc., R.N., FAAN, ANEF Professor of Nursing, University of Memphis School of Nursing
Wes Ely, M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Medicine and Critical Care Director of Aging Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
J.D. Elliott President, the Memorial Foundation
Sister Mary Sarah Galbraith, O.P., Ph.D. Professor of History and President, Aquinas College
Rev. James M. Guill, S.S.C. Rector, St. Andrew’s Parish
Timothy L.M. Glover Chief Mission and Ministry Officer, Saint Thomas Health
Marie T. Hilliard, Ph.D., R.N., J.D. Director of Ethics and Public Policy, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Philadelphia, PA
Brenda Lemus, M.D. Director, Field Medical Affairs Cumberland Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Peter Pagan, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, Aquinas College
Kate Payne, J.D., R.N. Chief Executive Officer University Community Health Services
Bro. Ignatius Perkins, O.P., Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., A.N.E.F. Dean and Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing, Aquinas College
Dawn M. Rudolph, M.B.A. Chief Experience Officer, Saint Thomas Hospital
Fr. John Raphael, S.S.J. Chaplain, Saint Thomas Hospital
Ron Huff Director, H.C.A. Center for Clinical Ethics Clinical Ethicist: Summit, Skyline and Hendersonville Medical Centers; ICU Family Liaison, Skyline Medical Center
Morgan Wells, M.D., F.A.C.P. President and Chief Executive Officer of Siloam Family Health Center and Institute for Faith and Culture

Office of the School of Nursing
4210 Harding Pike
Nashville, TN 37205
Phone: (615) 297-7545 ext. 446
Fax: (615) 783-0562

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The faculty, together with the Dominican Sisters, play a big role in ensuring that my fellow students and I have a very fruitful, and satisfying experience at Aquinas.

- Mary-Frances N.

I wanted to attend a college where I would be allowed to freely and fully practice and grow in my faith, while receiving a dynamic, modern nursing education.

- Mary-Frances N.

In high school, I knew I was going to study nursing in college. And so whenever I was wondering where I should go to school, they said go to Aquinas College because Aquinas nurses are selected before anyone else, from the hospitals, they seek us out. So that was definitely a cool thing about Aquinas and why I wanted to study nursing.

- Sarah G.

"I was attracted to Aquinas because it taught the Catholic Faith and had a good nursing program."

- Mary F.

At Aquinas, everybody is considered equal and worthy of the respect and dignity that is due to all human persons made in the image and likeness of God.

- Mary-Frances N.

Here everybody knows each other. Even the teachers, they know you by name and they truly care. In high school with so many students it was so hard to know everyone. Here the teachers interact on a personal level.

- Cinthia J.

"Going into the medical field, I especially wanted a school that valued the dignity of human life."

- Maria

We are not taught just "book knowledge," we are also taught practical skills that will enable us to behave as professionals in a nursing environment.

- Mary-Frances N.

We are not taught just "book knowledge," we are also taught practical skills that will enable us to behave as professionals in a nursing environment.

- Mary-Frances N.

Since I wanted to go into the medical field, I really wanted to also have an ethical and philosophical dimension to it where we're focused on the dignity of the human person, and seeing each patient as an individual made in the image and likeness of God.

- Eva M.

I think the nursing program at Aquinas really prepares you. It's very rigorous, but I think that the level of respect that the hospitals and community have for it speak to that,  so it's worth it all in the end.

- Audrey S.

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