The theme and variations. Who is qualifìed to speak to it (them)?
A popular dictionary of American English [Merriam Webster Collegiate] gives four options for meaning to the word “humanity.”
1. The quality or state of being human. 2. The quality or state of being humane. 3. (Usually in plural), the branches of learning that investigate human constructs or concerns–as opposed to those about the natural world. 4. All of humankind generally.
We propose that either or both of the first two of these four be at stake, either directly, by specific address, or indirectly, by example, in the clinical lecture selected for the occasion of this annual event. We may anticipate, that in so choosing, echoes of the latter two of the four meanings of “humanity” often will be audible, too.
What would qualify as a specific address on the theme of humanity in clinical care?
Such topics as, What Is “Humanity” in Medical Care? Does it Matter? Who Says? What is the Evidence that it Matters? Does Evidence Itself Matter Where “Humanity” is Concerned? ls American Medicine Becoming Dehumanized? And dozens more possibilities. And what would qualify as an indirect address, via example, on this same theme? Here the possibilities are larger still, because it is the qualities of the speaker herself/himself, rather that her/his topic, that are on display. This speaker is to be a clinician deeply respected for attention to human or humane (or both) values in the practice of his or her craft, one whose attention to those very values is highly likely to show through in a lecture almost no matter the topic.
A note about religion. Jim McClellan was a devout Catholic. This lectureship will not sponsor politically or religiously motivated speakers. The theme “humanity” being what it is, however, inevitably commentary pertinent to a topic of political or religious controversy will on occasion be appropriate in the context of a larger idea.
While it is not the purpose of the Administrative Committee (see below) to stifle controversy or disagreement, neither does it countenance in this venue the championing of a point of view on a topic likely to induce strong and differing feelings based on political or religious preference. This matter will be discussed with speakers well in advance of a scheduled lecture.
We hold the hope that money raised to support this lectureship will be of an amount that speakers may be enlisted who are of very considerable interest, some of national and international reputation, some of considerable renown in their city or region.
For whom are the lectures intended (Target Audience)?
Physicians, nurses, and other caregivers in our community. But our ambition extends further, too. We propose that one of three annual lectures; most especially one of those incorporating a specific address of the theme (see above), be formulated generally enough that it may appeal to any reflective person, that many members of the public will find themselves able to participate in appreciation and enjoyment. And this, too, may well be a unique, or nearly unique, aspect of the lectureship.
How is the lectureship to be governed?
By an Administrative Committee (ourselves, the founders, to begin: we were self-appointed) of three local citizens, at least two of whom are physicians, one of whom is to be replaced every two years. A member of the McClellan family will also be an ex officio member of the committee. The principle tasks of this committee, which should meet at least quarterly, are selection of speaker, selection of venue, fund-raising, and service as liaison and advisor to the Blue Mountain Foundation (see below). The senior member of this committee is to serve as its chair. And by an Advisory Committee, comprised of every donor (at the level of $500 or more, cumulative). This committee is to meet at least once yearly, is to offer freely advice and counsel to the Administrative Committee, and is to provide a nominee to fill a vacancy on the Administrative Committee when one comes open. The secondmost senior member of the Administrative Committee is to chair the Advisory Committee.
Relationship to Blue Mountain Foundation
The BMF will manage the fund created through donations, and distribute payments according to the instructions of the Administrative Committee.