233927 Case studies to explore ethical dilemmas in short-term global health research experiences

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 2:30 PM - 2:50 PM

Mei Elansary, MPhil , School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Lauren Graber , School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT
In recent years, increasing numbers of US-based health professional students have traveled to low resource settings to conduct short-term research projects. At times, pre-departure training can be inadequate, leaving students unprepared for the ethical challenges posed by these experiences. This is magnified by the lack of attention paid to the burdens and benefits for local staff, institutions, and patient wellbeing in the setting of disproportionate poverty and disease. This presentation explores the ethical challenges posed by US-based students' research experiences through a series of case studies based on the experiences of the student authors. Issues discussed include the burdens that students pose on the hosting organization, limitations of student's clinical knowledge, distributive justice, community involvement in research, informed consent, and the student-advisor relationship. The case studies demonstrate how many of the ethical dilemmas posed by short-term research experiences may be mitigated by building long term partnerships between US medical schools and partners in low-resource settings with the goal of mutual education and training, capacity building, and collaboration. The case studies are designed to serve as foundation for discussion and pre-departure training sessions. Specific recommendations are proposed for students, faculty, and school administrators to ensure that research experiences in low resource settings are both ethical and equitable.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the ethical challenges posed by U.S.-based studentsí research experiences.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have extensively researched ethical dilemmas for students when participating in overseas health electives.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.