Ethical Obligations Toward Research Subjects

February 8, 2019

The Parr | Bioethics Joint Lecture Series

Thursday April 4, 5-6:30 pm

Hyde Hall, University Room

Steven Joffe (Medical Ethics, Penn)

“Ethical Obligations Towards Research Subjects”

The ethical distinction between medical care, which seeks to advance the patient’s well-being, and biomedical research, which seeks to answer a question for the benefit of future patients, is widely recognized. Yet conventional analyses of the relationship between physician-investigators and research participants start from the ethics of the doctor-patient relationship, then ask how these norms can accommodate the demands of research. This approach is both conceptually unsatisfactory and inconsistent with much of current practice. A better approach is to start from the ethical obligations of scientists in the lab, then ask what constraints on the conduct of rigorous science are introduced by the involvement of human subjects—especially sick patient-subjects.

Steven Joffe, MD, MPH, is a pediatric oncologist and bioethicist who is currently Emanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Professor of Pediatrics, and Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. His research addresses the many ethical challenges that arise in the conduct of clinical and translational investigation; his over 100 published articles span research ethics, pediatric ethics, cancer ethics, genomethics, and science policy.


Washing Your Hands of It: Ethical Implications of Infection Control Policy and Practice

January 25, 2019

At the intersection of clinical and public health ethics lies the important practices of infection control. Often taken for granted as both proper and necessary, infection control encompasses a variety of practices that invite closer scrutiny. Is isolation worth the burden it imposes on patients? Do our monitoring practices pass the ethical sniff test? Is it right or wrong to come to work sick? And what should happen when healthcare workers do not comply with practices? Please join us for a discussion of these and other important ethical concerns related to this fundamental aspect in the delivery of health care.