Category Archives: Bioethics

Dr. Anthony Fauci discusses the HIV rebound in the Mississippi baby and importance of HIV research ethics

Photo via dem10/

Photo via dem10/

The Friday, July 11th episode of the PBS News Hour featured a presentation on the young child from Mississippi who had been treated with early and unusually aggressive drug treatment after birth and then was seemingly virus-free for two years.

However, official just announced that the girl, now almost 4 years old, tested positive for HIV during a follow-up appointment last week. When asked about the trial that was to begin, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases emphasized the need to be ethical in the design of the study.

Please visit the PBS News Hour website for a video and full transcript of the program.

What can you do with a degree in ethics? Video of Careers in Ethics Panel now available.

Dr. Adam L. Fried with the other members of the Careers in Ethics Panel

Dr. Adam L. Fried with the other members of the Careers in Ethics Panel. Click on photo to watch a video of the panel discussion.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of ethics, it is relevant and necessary in everything from medicine, business and journalism, to psychology, law, and environmental studies. Ethics is interesting to study, but what are the career options in the field?

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Promotion for ethics group in the American Public Health Association


The Ethics Special Primary Interest Group (SPIG) of the American Public Health Association (APHA) is slated to become to an official section of the organization in July. While this may appear to be merely a structural change within an organization, the promotion of the ethics group of APHA has wider implications for the discipline.

“The transition from a SPIG to a formal Section will position public health ethics as a full participant at the multidisciplinary table,” explained Lisa Lee, Ph.D., M.S., chair of the Ethics SPIG and Executive Director of the President Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.  “Our primary aim is to integrate ethical decision making into the fabric of public health practice so ethics is viewed as and becomes a facilitator of great work rather than an obstacle.”

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Humanitarian intervention: what are the ethical challenges facing aid workers, and how should they be addressed?

Dr. Ramin Asgary, M.D., M.P.H.

Ramin Asgary, M.D., M.P.H.

By: Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.

Recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, and the tsunami in Southeast Asia and the Arab Spring resulted in an increase in short-term medical volunteerism. This type of medical practice raises many ethical issues for both the medical practitioners and their institutions. Dr. Ramin Asgary, Assistant Professor in New York University’s Department of Medicine, has experienced these ethical issues from two perspectives: as a physician working abroad in humanitarian settings, and as an academic examining the ethics of short-term medical volunteerism, and aid workers in general.

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Center for Ethics Education Hosts Careers in Ethics Panel

Are you interested in studying ethics, but have questions about future careers in the field? The Center for Ethics Education’s second annual Careers in Ethics panel will give students the opportunity to learn and ask questions about potential careers in the interdisciplinary field of ethics.

“Our exciting panel showcases the amazing achievements of our alumni from the Ethics and Society program, as well as professionals affiliated with the Ethics Center who are engaged in ethics-related careers,” said Adam Fried, Ph.D., assistant director for the Center for Ethics Education,  director of the M.A. in Ethics and Society, and interdisciplinary minor in Bioethics, and moderator of the event. “Panelists will discuss their own professional paths and explain how students can pursue careers in ethics in a wide variety of professions, including those in health care, business, law, and compliance.”

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Clinical trials can & should be designed to include people with disabilities

Clinical trials tend to exclude vulnerable populations, such as people with disabilities. Speaking to Joshua Howgego of, Dr. Celia B. Fisher, Director of the Center for Ethics Education, explained that clinical trials can — and should — be designed to include people with disabilities.

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Womb transplantation: if it can be done, should it?

By: Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.

Nine women in Sweden have successfully received transplanted wombs donated from relatives, in what was the first large-scale experiment to determine whether this procedure could someday result in pregnancy. Was this experiment ethical, and if so, should it continue?

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Improved Regulations to Protect Human Research Subjects Would Reduce Burden on IRBs While Better Protecting Study Participants


Proposed updates to federal regulations that protect human research subjects need additional clarification when applied to the social and behavioral sciences, says a new report from the National Research Council.  Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Director Dr. Celia B. Fisher was a member of the committee and an author of the report.

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Fighting Stigma with Knowledge: RETI Fellow Brandon Brown Focuses on Peru

Dr. Brandon Brown

Dr. Brandon Brown

By: Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.

A new video from the University of California Irvine attempts to decrease the stigma attached to HIV through the personal stories of those affected by HIV/AIDS in Peru. Focusing on the only gay men’s health community center in Peru (Epicentro), the video features the work of Dr. Brandon Brown, the director of the Global Health Research Education and Translation (GHREAT) Initiative in the Program in Public Health at UC Irvine and a Fordham University HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute (RETI) fellow.

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Opportunity to Submit Comments for the Office of Disease Prevention Draft Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014–2018

The Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) has announced the release of a Request for Information to gather broad public input on the ODP Draft Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014–2018. The draft plan outlines the priorities that the Office will focus on over the next 5 years and highlights ODP’s role in advancing prevention research at the NIH.

Dr. David M. Murray writes:

The draft plan was developed with input from NIH scientific and planning experts, other federal agencies, the extramural research community, professional societies, the health care sector, and the general public. Based on this feedback, six strategic priorities were selected as the framework for the plan. The priorities represent the breadth of ODP activities and allow for emerging areas of opportunity to be incorporated into Office activities. The priorities are not mutually exclusive and are not presented in order of importance. It is anticipated that outcomes associated with each objective will contribute to the overall success of the Office in achieving our vision.

The ODP invites input on the draft strategic plan via the online Request for Information. While respondents are encouraged to review and provide feedback on any part of the draft document, comments on the six strategic priorities and related objectives are encouraged.

Interested parties may include, but are not limited to, prevention researchers in academia and industry, health care professionals, patient advocates and advocacy organizations, scientific and professional organizations, federal agencies, and other interested members of the public. Organizations are strongly encouraged to submit a single response that reflects the view of their organization or membership as a whole.

Please share with your colleagues this opportunity to provide comments. We are interested in obtaining input from a variety of stakeholders on the draft strategic plan. To ensure consideration, responses must be received by November 22, 2013.

Please click here for more details.

The Scientist-Citizen Dilemma and Moral Stress

Many of the ethical challenges faced by researchers conducting community-based studies with persons addicted to street drugs can be understood in terms of the “scientist-citizen dilemma.” This dilemma arises when researcher’s ethical obligation to produce scientifically valid knowledge conflicts with their sense of moral responsibility to help participants living in poverty with little access to treatment.

Frontline research staff engaged in the practical process of moral agency who encounter such dilemmas on a daily basis often experience moral stress when they cannot actualize these dual values via their work. Such stress may lead them to take actions that while assisting research participants in need jeopardize the validity of the study conducted.  In a recent article, Dr. Celia B. Fisher and her colleagues examined the consequences of moral stress among drug use community researchers and the organizational climates that can reduce or exacerbate these moral conflicts.

To read the full article, please see:

Fisher, C. B., True, G., Alexander, L., & Fried, A. L. (2013). Moral stress, moral practice, and ethical climate in community-based drug-use research: Views from the front line. AJOB Primary Research4(3), 27-38.

For the Love of Animals: Fordham Professor Examines Christian Ethics and the Treatment of Animals in New Book


About 10 years ago, Charles Camosy decided to give up eating meat. Camosy, an assistant professor of Christian Ethics at Fordham University, believed that this change in diet was necessary in order to be authentically and consistently Christian and pro-life.

In his new book, For the Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action, Camosy makes the argument that Christian ethics and doctrine require the moral treatment of animals, and are therefore incompatible with the consumption of meat. Using history and scripture, Camosy discusses the roots of this Christian belief, before examining how these ideas translate into everyday life. He asks questions regarding whether Christians should eat meat, and what sort of medical research on animals can be justified, in addition to considering the ethics of pet ownership and hunting.

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Project THANKS: Turning HIV/AIDS into New Knowledge for Sisters

By: Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.

Many people with HIV/AIDS are living with not just one, but two or more chronic diseases. While cures to the diseases may not yet exist, there are ways to help people manage and improve their health and well-being.

Project THANKS is helping people – particularly, women of color – do just that.

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HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow Examines HIV Testing in Appalachia

Dr. Tania Basta

Dr. Tania Basta

By: Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.

Appalachia is home to more than 20 million people, yet researchers often overlook the area. Dr. Tania Basta is trying to change that.

Basta is a Fordham University HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute (RETI) Fellow, and is working on a mentored research project on HIV testing in rural Appalachia. She was recently honored with the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Excellence in Abstract Submission Award for her abstract entitled “Factors influencing HIV testing among individuals living in rural Appalachia.” She will present her research at the APHA’s annual meeting in Boston in November.

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Webinar: Advancing Bioethics Education

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues will hold a webinar on Advancing Bioethics Education on September 19, 2013 from 1-2 p.m. E.S.T.

The webinar will serve as an introduction to the Commission’s new education materials, developed to support the teaching of bioethics ideas, principles, and theories at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels. The webinar will review the materials and discuss their potential application in existing curricula for both traditional and nontraditional educational settings.

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HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow Publishes Study on HIV Testing and Facebook

Dr. Sean D. Young, a 2013 Fordham University Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow

While Facebook may be used primarily to reconnect with old friends and share vacation photos, a recent study suggests that it  may also be an important tool in HIV prevention.

A new study by Fordham University HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow Dr. Sean D. Young of UCLA found that using social media and online communities not only leads to increased HIV testing and encourages significant behavior change among high risk groups, but also turns out to be one of the best HIV-prevention and testing approaches on the Internet.

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Fordham University Research Ethics Training Institute Faculty Member Discusses the Ethics of HIV Cure Research

Recently, Dr. Jeremy Sugarman, Fordham University HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute faculty member, discussed the ethics of HIV cure research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In an article published on August 13, 2013, Dr. Sugarman, Professor of Bioethics at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, contends that as HIV cure research progresses, ethical implications must be taken into consideration in order to protect the rights, interests, and welfare of all research participants involved.

Please click here for the full article.

Advance Directives for Research Involving Adults with Advancing Dementia

By Celia B. Fisher, Ph.D.

As advance directives for health care have become increasingly accepted in society, some have suggested that similar directives by those with advancing cognitive impairment can enhance substitute decision-making for research participation once an individual’s mental capacity has been compromised.

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Santander Scholarship Recipient Dr. Stella Njuguna examines post-trial access to Truvada among HIV-I discordant couples in Kenya

Dr. Stella Njuguna, a 2013 recipient of the Santander Universities International Scholarship

Dr. Stella Njuguna is a Research Officer at Kenya Medical Research Institute

Recent trials have indicated that the drug Truvada® is effective in preventing the acquisition of HIV.  However, the participants of one such trial consisting of serodiscordant couples conducted in Kisumu, Kenya, do not have post trial access (PTA) to Truvada®. Who is responsible for post-trial access for the participants?

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Changes in HIPAA rule increases penalties for ‘business associates’ but purports to make it easier for researchers to obtain children’s health information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has modified the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules to address breaches by business associates, reported to reduce research burdens by making it easier for parents and others to give permission to share proof of a child’s immunization with a school.
Will this new ruling reduce or add to burdens of conducting research designed to help children that involves the coordination of large data sets across health, educational and service settings?
For additional information visit the HHS website.