Bioethics Blogs

Involving children in clinical research? iCAN.

From the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln to the Watergate Scandal, Washington, D.C. has seen its fair share of historical events over the years.

Last week, another was added to its annals. For the first time, international groups of children and young people who advise researchers about how best to communicate with other children, and anticipate their needs during the course of clinical research, came together to talk to, learn from, and get to know one another at the launch of the International Children’s Advisory Network (‘iCAN’).

Participants at the iCAN summit

After a ‘getting to know you’ social event where games were played, and barbecue food enjoyed, the information and expertise shared between each group began in earnest on the first day of the Network’s launch. Each young persons’ group – including those from England, Scotland, Canada, Spain, France, Australia (established just three weeks ago), and the United States (including Georgia, Connecticut, and Ohio) – presented their work to their peers, parents, policy-makers, and group coordinators in the format of short films (all of which were devised and directed by young people). This exercise displayed the breadth of work undertaken by the groups, some of whom advise on and advocate for treatment, innovations, and policies that improve the health and well-being of children and young people, in addition to advising researchers on their protocols and the format and language of the information they offer to young participants. Next year’s event promises a chance to meet with other new groups, such as those from Germany and Italy which are well on the way to being established.

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.