Ethics of Clinical Research
Multinational Research and Capacity Building
Multinational research is essential to understanding and ultimately controlling diseases of global importance, but raises complex ethical issues. Much multinational research is sponsored by developed-world entities (both public and private) and conducted in developing countries. The context of multinational research conducted in low- and middle-income countries involves background disparities in health, health resources, and power. As a result, ethical concerns about exploitation, distributive justice, the researcher-participant relationship, and obligations to communities are especially salient in multinational research.
The Department focuses on both capacity-building and research in multi-national research ethics.
We have several initiatives designed to build capacity in low- and middle-income countries, including:
- International workshops in health policy and research ethics for researchers, governmental officials, and IRB and Ethics Committee members
- International workshops to support a network of young scholars in bioethics from low- and middle-income countries
- Three month IRB training program that brings participants from resource poor settings to the NIH for training in ethics and IRB review
- Joint NIH-University of Bergen Ph.D. program for candidates from low- and middle-income countries. Please contact the Department or Reidar Lie for more information [disclaimer] about this program
- Two year predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowship training program that is open to both international and domestic participants
- Short-term appointments for visiting scholars and researchers from around the world
The Department's research initiatives aim to better understand the ethical complexities of multinational research, covering various specific topics in the ethics of research and situating this research within a larger examination of issues of exploitation and globalization. Addressing the ethical issues in multinational research will also help to promote and facilitate research in diseases that are responsible for a major portion of the global burden of disease. Beginning in the fall of 2001, the Department focused a substantial portion of its research on conceptual and empirical issues related to the ethics of multinational clinical research. Many of these projects are collaborations with researchers from developing countries, including many NIAID supported researchers. Since that time over 70 research papers have been published in peer reviewed journals including Science, The Lancet, JAMA, PLoS Medicine, American Journal of Public Health, and the leading bioethics journals. Between 2007 and 2012 we published on the following topics:
- Empirical studies of informed consent and disclosure of genetic risk in different countries
- Empirical studies of attitudes to the transfer of samples across borders among researchers and policy makers
- Empirical studies of attitudes to benefits, burdens and inducements in research
- Conceptual analysis of exploitation in multinational research
- Conceptual analysis of theories of global justice and their implications for health policy and health research
- Conceptual analyses of ethical frameworks for benefit-sharing, such as Fair Benefits, Reasonable Availability, and Responsiveness
- Conceptual analyses of the obligation to provide ancillary care and post-trial benefits to study participants
Full Description (circa 2010) (131 KB)
Recently, faculty members have contributed to a special issue assessing the Fogarty International Research Ethics Education and Curriculum Development Program.
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