The Institute of Human Values in Health Care (the Institute) was created in 1994 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 proceedings of each conference are published as symposium issues of peer-review journals. Recent lectureships have covered a broad spectrum of topics in bioethics.

This primary focus continued until 2009, when, consequent to a Clinical and Translational Science Award grant from the NIH’s National Center for Research Resources, the Institute added a new focus on research ethics after it assumed a central role in the Core Clinical Research Ethics (CRE) program of MUSC’s South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR). The Director of the Institute, Robert M. Sade, MD, serves as the Director of SCTR’s CRE program.

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. Over the past five years, members of the Institute have published 44 papers on topics in bioethics and health policy, have given 63 lectures and seminars nationally and regionally, and have given 70 lectures and seminars for various departments and programs within MUSC.


Our mission 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. 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 is a University level entity. The Charter is reviewed annually by the Institute for determination of any necessary updates to the Charter.

Formal Charges

The Institute of Human Values in Health Care is charged with conducting research and publishing studies exploring research ethics, health care ethics, and the relation of human values to the development of health policy, legislation, and systems of delivery of patient care. Specific duties include:

  • Conducting research and publishing studies that relate human values to research ethics, health policy and systems of delivery of patient care, and that advance knowledge and understanding of the ethical conduct of research.
  • Providing leadership and administrative support for the Clinical Research Ethics component of SCTR;
  • Developing and managing conferences and workshops focusing on clinical and translational research;
  • Planning and executing annually the Thomas A. Pitts Lectureship in Medical Ethics;
  • Maintaining the Research Ethics Scholars Program, an educational program that leads to a Certificate of Competency in Research Ethics; and
  • Providing support for the Research Ethics Consultation Service of the MUHA Ethics Committee.

Membership/Terms of Appointments

Members broadly represent the health care professions, the humanities, and the social sciences. They are drawn from the faculties of institutions of higher education in South Carolina. Members are appointed for terms of five years, without limit on reappointment, renewable at the discretion of the Director of the Institute.


Ad hoc, task-oriented subcommittees are appointed by the Director as needed. In addition, the Institute has three standing committees:

  • The Thomas Pitts Lectureship Planning Committee determines appropriate topics for each annual lectureship and assists in the recruitment of faculty for the event;
  • The Committee on Conferences and Workshops is responsible for developing one or more meetings each year that address topics in research ethics; and
  • The Committee on the Research Ethics Scholars Program develops and maintains the program that leads to a Certificate of Competency in Research Ethics.

Frequency of Meetings

The Institute membership meets every 2-3 months. Written notice is provided each Institute member in advance of each formally scheduled meeting. A formal meeting agenda and appropriate supportive materials are attached to the written notice of each meeting.


Summary minutes of each meeting are prepared by the Director of the Institute or designate and submitted to all members prior to each membership meeting. Copies are also distributed to the University Provost.

Institute Reports

Each year the Institute files a written report, summarizing major activities for the prior period, with the Provost.


A simple majority will constitute a necessary quorum to conduct business at any meeting of the membership.

Amendment ot this Charter

Should any amendment to this Charter be required between scheduled annual reviews, the Director shall work with the Provost in developing amendments suitable to all parties.

University Institute Charter

This University Institute Charter is effective as of July 1, 2011.