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The Healthcare Ethics and Law [HEAL] Institute was created as an interdisciplinary effort within Samford University in 1999. Its mission is to better support the unique and complex relationships between patients and health-care providers, the individuals who make patient-care decisions, and the institutional ethics committees who offer them advice and counsel. In keeping with the central mission of Samford University, the institute supports patients and health-care professionals primarily with educational programs.
At present, the institute is the only program within the university that builds upon the cooperative spirit of faculty and fellows from the Howard College of Arts and Sciences and issue-related professional schools (business, law, nursing, pharmacy and divinity). The institute was established through a challenge grant from the principal benefactor/alumnus of Samford’s pharmacy school, R. Clayton McWhorter. McWhorter founded and was chief executive officer of HealthTrust, Inc., which owned and managed acute care facilities. He founded LifeTrust America (a senior services corporation) that operates throughout the Southeast.McWhorter is now chairman of Clayton Associates, LLC, based in Nashville, Tennessee. Clayton Associates is a venture capital company that enables a wide range of exciting business ventures.McWhorter has championed clinical ethics efforts in all his companies and made the initial challenge grant to create Samford’s Healthcare Ethics and Law Institute. A 1955 pharmacy graduate of Samford, he has served as chair of the University’s board of overseers and is on the school of pharmacy advisory board.