Bioethics Blogs

Global Ethics: A Deja Vu Experience

by Michael (Mike) Kraten, PhD, CPA, IRB Chair at Providence College

PRIM&R is pleased to share a post from Mike Kraten, a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2014 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference. The PRIM&R Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who will blog here, on Ampersand, about the conference to give our readers an inside peek of what’s happening December 4-7 in Baltimore, MD. 

Have you ever experienced a sense of deja vu? A feeling of having lived through a moment in another life?

I lived through such a moment as an audience member at a plenary discussion on Friday titled “Global Research Ethics: Challenges and Strategies – Past, Present, and Future”. However, instead of reliving a moment from a previous life, I re-experienced a question that I am now struggling to answer in a different life.

You see, I am not a full-time researcher. My professional life includes teaching responsibilities, and I regularly challenge my students to consider the ethical ramifications of business decisions. During Friday’s discussion, a panelist answered a question about research ethics that startled me, as it addressed the very question that I’ve been struggling to answer about business ethics.

Early in the session, Robert J. Levine, MD, of Yale University spoke about inconsistencies between various international codes of research ethics. He explained that any decision to adhere to one code could force researchers to violate other codes. Later, during the question and answer period, an audience member asked him for advice about what to do in situations where national codes conflict with international codes.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.