Lee Scholarship

Actor and martial artist Bruce Lee’s life was characterized by the belief that there was no end to the pursuit of knowledge, and by a devotion to the concept that life is a constantly evolving process of self-actualization. His son, Brandon, continued the process of self-education, characterized by a single-minded devotion to achievement.

Both Bruce and Brandon Lee died far too young, and an endowment in memory of the actors was endowed in 1994 and is administered by the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics to fund a research scholarship for a senior medical student according to the following guidelines:

1. The award may go to a third-year medical student

2. Third-year students must submit a research proposal that:

a. Can occur during the fourth year of medical school.

b. Focuses on ethical and human values issues concerning clinical experience.

c. Proposals are due on or before April 1st.

3. A final written report of the research project must be submitted and approved before graduation. (Download a complete list of grantee responsibilities and expectations).

4. Up to 4 credit-hours can be earned as elective credits for the study project.

Though projects from any area of clinical practice are welcome, per endowment design preference will be given to ethical and personal human concerns of cancer patients and families.

A tuition scholarship of up to $5000* is awarded to the student whose project is chosen each year.

To apply for the scholarship submit a completed The Bruce and Brandon Lee Medical Scholarship Competition application by April 1st. Proposals should be submitted by email to Humanities@uams.edu. Recipients of the award are chosen by a review committee, and a mentor is assigned to help foster completion of the project.

The faculty of the Division is happy to help you focus your project idea and develop a workable timeline, but you must contact us early in order to meet the April 1st deadline. To learn more about the scholarship, discuss potential projects, or to get help with completing the application, contact Dr. D. Micah Hester (hesterdm@uams.edu) well in advance of April 1st.

* Scholarship amount is determined by the committee based on factors including, but not limited to, fiscal stewardship of the endowment and number of scholarships awarded.


Sample Awards


Bio-banking Disparities – Can Education Help


Bio-banking is an expanding and critical resource to cancer research and treatment advances. This proposal specifically addresses the bio-banking disparity in African Americans (AA), who have the highest cancer rate yet donate their tissue less and have less trust than other patient populations. This study will assess AA patient understanding of bio-banking and whether educating them about it influences their decision. Understanding the nature and risk should ensure patient trust and help maintain this vast resource.


Is Enforced Contraception Ethically Usable in the Acutely Mentally Ill?


Due either to their disease or their medications, some acutely incapacitated mental patients experience a heightened sexuality. They are hospitalized with others in the same condition. Research and experience demonstrate that sexual encounters happen in such settings. The female patient is at risk for two physical consequences of unmodified sexual intercourse–pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Modern contraceptive techniques have all but removed the possibility of pregnancy if used properly. Since such incapacitated patients are already being restrained and treated against their will for the protection of themselves or others, is it ethical to also protect them from a pregnancy for which they are not prepared?


Supporting Breast Cancer Survivors — What Is Enough?


Medical advances have allowed physicians to repair breast cancer patients’ physical deformities in the wake of the disease. However, countless studies have concluded that there are voids in treatment which must be equally attended – namely the psychosocial, the emotional, and the spiritual. Support groups have grown in numbers and in their quality of service over the years, but is the breast cancer patient aware of all the services available? Are physicians aware of what is available for their patients? Are family members and spouses encouraged to seek support as well? Do rural patients have access to similar outreach programs as urban patients? This pilot study was designed to explore some of these issues in order to better understand the needs of future breast cancer patients.


Family Presence During Attempted Resuscitation


It has been debated recently whether or not relatives should be allowed present during the attempted resuscitation of their loved one. Medical professionals from eighty-one hospitals in Arkansas were surveyed. Two hundred and twenty-three surveys were returned. Eighty-five respondents said they would consider allowing family member present during CPR. One hundred and thirty-one respondents said they would not consider allowing family presence. The most common reason given for not allowing family member presence was that the family was unprepared or that the CPR scene was too traumatic for family presence. However, other studies have shown that with some preparation and support some family members are helped in their grieving process by being allowed presence. Medical paternalism is not a valid reason for the routine exclusion of families from the resuscitation room.


A Structured Discussion Of Ethical Issues Between Junior Clerks And Advanced Surgical Residents


A forum was created to provide an opportunity for junior medical students on their surgery rotation to discuss ethical issues with senior surgical residents. A validated survey was distributed to the students after the first month of the rotation that assessed emotional stress experienced by them during the month. Structured discussions between the students and senior residents were conducted by the Lee Scholar with assistance from a physician-ethicist from the Division of Medical Humanities. Discussion focused on the results of the survey and on a number of ethical issues typically faced by junior clerks. A control group received the survey but no intervention.

Discussion sessions were lively, rich, and deep. Communication between clerks and residents was a recurring theme of the discussions. An assessment survey was conducted after all the sessions had been held. Subjective ratings of the experience were positive. Results of the survey indicated reduction of stress among the participating students together with an increase in stress among the controls, though the results for this small sample size were not statistically significant.


Genetic Sequencing and Gene Mapping


Genetic sequencing and gene mapping have greatly contributed to our understanding of hereditary cancers, which constitute 5-10% of all malignancies. Since the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, many cancer related genes have been identified. While these findings have revolutionized the field of oncology, their utility in predicting cancer susceptibility in asymptomatic individuals, directing prophylactic treatments, and guiding family planning decisions is not fully understood. This investigation aims to identify cancer-susceptible patients followed at the Arkansas Cancer Research Center who have been evaluated by a physician and received appropriate counseling for cancer genetic testing within the last 24 months. From this patient population, a subset of patients will be surveyed to determine factors influencing their individual testing decisions.