Six Fordham University HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute (RETI) fellows recently published articles in a special issue of the most recent issue of Ethics & Behavior. The special issue – guest edited by RETI and Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Director Dr. Celia B. Fisher – highlights ethical issues in the responsible conduct of HIV research.
In the introductory article, Dr. Fisher discusses enhancing the responsible conduct of sexual health prevention research across global and local contexts, and the need for training in evidence-based research ethics, specifically discussing the work of the RETI, and the ethical framework guiding Institute training.
The six articles in this special issue take different approaches to exploring various dimensions of sexual health prevention research ethics. The topics selected for study drew from the Institute fellows’ own experiences confronting ethical challenges in the conduct of HIV, HPV, and drug use risk research involving socially marginalized populations globally and locally.
All articles describe how they employed processes of co-learning to give voice to the experiences, perspectives, and values of individuals who have or will participate in the fellows’ prevention research studies. In beginning, during the difficult work of matching an interview format and questions to population needs, each author drew on the wisdom of community advisory boards comprised of former research participants, research and professional staff, and community advocates. The community advisory boards helped tailor recruitment, informed consent, and data collection procedures that were respectful, informative, and relevant to the lives of each specific participant population.
RETI Cohort 1 Fellow Dr. Michelle Broaddus contributed to the special issue, along with Cohort 2 Fellows Drs. Brandon Brown, Tania Basta, Shira Goldenberg, Thomas Guadamuz, and Santander Universities Scholarship recipient Charmaine Thokoane. Several of the fellows co-wrote their articles with their RETI faculty mentor.
“As illuminated in these articles, the knowledge required to meet these obligations includes understanding the cultural lens through which participants view their research experiences and the ability and willingness to construct research methods and ethical practices fitted to their research needs and the social and legal context in which they live,” Dr. Fisher explains in her article.
For more information on the Ethics & Behavior special issue, please visit the issue’s website.