Time to Bury Concerns about Monetary Undue Inducements in Research

Ethan Cowan, MD, MS, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine and the Director of Research and Community Engagement in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, Icahn Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY and our 2018 Andrew Markus visiting scholar.

Recently, I was a co-investigator on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded project studying the initiation of buprenorphine/naloxone in the Emergency Department for patients with moderate to severe opioid use disorder. This medication assisted treatment is instrumental in the fight against the raging opioid epidemic in the United States. To help encourage patients to participate in the study we provided them with a monetary incentive for enrollment and follow-up.  This incentive was not particularly large but for the Institutional Review Board (IRB) it raised concerns about undue inducement. In this study, and others like it, the concern of IRBs seems to hinge on the belief that money somehow impairs the ability of a potential research subject to provide valid informed consent for study participation. But, is this problem real or imagined? Continue reading “Time to Bury Concerns about Monetary Undue Inducements in Research”

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Time to Bury Concerns about Monetary Undue Inducements in Research

Vulnerability and Health Research: The REACH Project

Ariella Binik, Ethox Centre, University of Oxford

Vulnerability has long been recognized as a central concept in research ethics. It aims to identify populations in need of special protections and to clarify the protections that should be provided. Despite a long history in research ethics guidelines and considerable attention in bioethics scholarship, offering a clear and persuasive account of what it means to be vulnerable, who is vulnerable, and why they are vulnerable remains controversial. Continue reading “Vulnerability and Health Research: The REACH Project”

Vulnerability and Health Research: The REACH Project

In 2018, Let’s Root Out Genetic Racism For Good

Tobias Haeusermann is an affiliated researcher and student supervisor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, where he received his PhD in 2016. At Cambridge he teaches and instructs undergraduate students for the HSPS Tripos “Introduction to Sociology: Modern Societies I” and the paper “Social Context of Health and Illness” within the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos. He previously was a post-doctoral fellow at the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI) at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He was also our Caroline Miles visiting scholar in February 2018.

In the wake of ever decreasing costs for analysing genetic information, companies such as 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and Ancestry.com now provide customers easy and affordable access to their genetic data. In particular, tracing one’s ancestry is steadily gaining popularity, above all in nations with a rich history of immigration. When used to find lost family members and ties or to seek connection to other people and places, such tests can be of great value. Yet even then, one runs the risk of altering their self-perception, which, as a result, can lead to profound psychological distress for individuals and their families alike. We should therefore tread carefully when digging up family roots, as we may unearth some uncomfortable truths about the present.

Continue reading “In 2018, Let’s Root Out Genetic Racism For Good”

In 2018, Let’s Root Out Genetic Racism For Good

Oxford-Amsterdam Winter School – 5th edition!

Suzanne Metselaar, Dept. of Medical Humanities, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam and Gerben Meynen, Humanities, Dept. of Philosophy, VU University, Amsterdam, and Ruth Horn and Michael Dunn from the Ethox Center, Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, University of Oxford

Making the transition from being a student to becoming part of an international community of bioethicists can be a challenge. What to expect when participating in conferences? How to critically engage in current bioethical debates? How to bring your point across as convincingly as possible, but to do this in a respectful way, acknowledging the work done by others?

In order to support students in making this transition, we have been organizing an annual Winter School for students of the MA-program Philosophy, Bioethics, and Health (PBH), a two-year MA-program of Philosophy and Medical Humanities, VU University (Medical Center) in Amsterdam. The Winterschool January 2018 was its 5th edition. Continue reading “Oxford-Amsterdam Winter School – 5th edition!”

Oxford-Amsterdam Winter School – 5th edition!

Do traditional bioethical solutions suffice in times of digital health?

Karin Jongsma is an assistant professor of medical ethics at the Julius Center of Utrecht University Medical Center, the Netherlands and a Post-doctoral fellow at the department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine in Göttingen, Germany.  She was also our Caroline Miles visiting scholar in November 2017.

She works with Prof. Dr. Annelien Bredenoord (Utrecht) and Prof. Dr. Silke Schicktanz (Göttingen). Her research focuses on who should have a say in decision-making and representative practices, and she is particularly interested in digital health.

Apps and big data are increasingly used to track, analyse and predict health and health behaviour via smartphones, wearables and via online behaviour. Health care has a history of failed IT investments, and health research has a reputation of being expensive to innovate in, but commercial tech-companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple have succeeded in creating momentum towards a digital change. These companies have developed and implemented technologies that offer innovative ways for collecting, storing and analysing complex and rich health-related data. This data driven research and care may be referred to as digital health. The rising attention for big data and digital health has come with high expectations and is supposedly paradigm-changing. It is hoped that the possibilities of doing research and monitoring patients and not yet patients will create new ways of predicting, treating and preventing illnesses (eg Topol 2015), but digital health will simultaneously create new risks and harm and will shift the dynamics of health research and health care.

Continue reading “Do traditional bioethical solutions suffice in times of digital health?”

Do traditional bioethical solutions suffice in times of digital health?

Sacred Values and the Sanctity of Life

We had a great talk here at Ethox a few weeks ago by Dr Steve Clarke, on sacred values and the sanctity of life.  Steve is a Senior Research Associate in the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Stuart University.

If you missed this talk, you can listen again here…

Listen to Dr Steve Clarke’s talk here

Continue reading “Sacred Values and the Sanctity of Life”

Sacred Values and the Sanctity of Life

The Ethics of AMR Carriership

Morten Fibieger Byskov is a postdoctoral researcher with the department of Communication, Philosophy, and Technology at Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands, and our current Caroline Miles visiting scholar. 

Multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), or antimicrobial resistance (AMR), pose a dire threat to individual and public health. Not only is AMR a danger to vulnerable individuals who require antibiotic treatment, but the over- and misuse of antibiotics also threatens the effectiveness of antibiotics for future generations. As such, AMR presents a unique problem for public health ethics and healthcare ethics that should ideally address ethical issues at both the public and individual level.

Continue reading “The Ethics of AMR Carriership”

The Ethics of AMR Carriership