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Asylum Hill Research Consortium

Dr. Ralph Didlake now leads the Asylum Hill Research Consortium, a group of scholars from various disciplines formed to oversee exhumations and respectfully memorialize the lives of those buried on the grounds of what is now the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.

Pictured in 2018 (front, from left) are consortium members and collaborators including Eric Hospodor, Dr. Sara Gleason, Dr. Ralph Didlake, Mary Ball Markow, Misti Thornton, Dr. Amy Wiese Forbes, Dr. Caroline Compretta, Dr. Véronique Bélisle; (back) Dr. Thomas Gregory, Dr. Tony Boudreaux, Dr. Patrick Hopkins, Dr. Janice Brockley, Dr. Shamsi Berry and Dr. Molly Zuckerman. 

Our mission

To preserve, rigorously investigate, and promote the public history and scientific value of the Mississippi State Insane Asylum and to honor the experience and legacy of the individuals who were its patients over an important 80-year period in the history of medicine, mental illness, disability, and social institutions in the State of Mississippi.

Our vision

The Asylum Hill Research Consortium is a model program for investigation, civic engagement, and education in the medical humanities and bioarchaeology. Using evidence-based research, and the best practices of archiving, memorialization, scientific method, and social history, the project serves as both a guide and resource for scholars across disciplines and among diverse organizations.

Guiding principles

The guiding principles of the consortium are:

  • Responsible and ethical stewardship of physical, cultural, and scientific value of resources
  • Adherence to prevailing disciplinary standards of practice
  • Shared scholarship across disciplines and effective dissemination of data
  • Alignment with UMMC missions: education, healthcare, research.

2021 Consortium Members

University of Mississippi Medical Center

  • Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities
Ralph Didlake, MD, Director
Caroline Compretta, PhD
Patrick Hopkins, PhD
Lida Gibson, MA
Amani Bailey, MA, MPH

  • Office of General Counsel
Eric Hospodor, Esq.
Susan Shands Jones, Esq. (retired)

  • Rowland Medical Library
Susan B. Clark, MLn
Misti Thornton, MLIS

  • Department of Psychiatry
Sara Gleason, MD


University of Mississippi

  • Center for Archaeological Research, Anthropology Department
Tony Boudreaux, PhD


Mississippi State University

  • Cobb Institute of Archaeology
Molly Zuckerman, PhD
Anna Osterholtz, PhD
Derek Anderson, Lecturer


Millsaps College

George Bey, PhD
Amy Wiese Forbes, PhD


Jackson State University

  • Department of History
Janice A. Brockley, PhD


Alcorn State University

  • Department of Social Science
Yulonda Eadie Sano, PhD


University of Southern Mississippi

  • Department of Geography and Geology
Thomas Patterson, PhD


Georgia State University

  • College of Arts and Sciences
Elizabeth West, PhD


Texas State University

  • Department of Anthropology
Nicholas P. Herrmann, PhD


University of Idaho

  • Department of Geography
Grant Harley, PhD


University of Western Michigan School of Medicine

  • Health Informatics and Information Management

Shamsi Berry, PhD


Community partners

  • Mississippi Department of Archives and History
  • Mississippi State Hospital
  • Mississippi Humanities Council
  • Mississippi Library Commission
  • Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University