"Trust me, I'm a researcher": Human Research Ethics in Practice

Speakers:
Marilys Guillemin (Director, Centre for Health and Society)
Lynn Gillam (Associate Professor, University of Melbourne/Clinical Ethicist, Royal Children’s Hospital)

It is widely agreed that conducting research in an ethical manner is important and that trust in the research process is crucial. However, there is little research that has systematically investigated what happens in the practice of research ethics. Findings will be presented from a three year project funded by the Australian Research Council to examine how human research ethics committee members and health researchers make decisions about ethical issues in health research.

Eighty-eight individual, in-depth interviews were undertaken: 34 ethics committee members across all categories of membership, and 54 health researchers in fields including biomedicine, epidemiology, clinical and qualitative health research. The research examined how health researchers and ethics committee members understand and think about research ethics and how, in practice, they address ethical issues in research. The cultures and practices of ethics committee members engaged in the process of ethics review will be discussed, together with how the relationship between ethics committee members and health researchers both assists and impedes trust in the human research enterprise.

The presentation will focus on the ways that health researchers, in particular health researchers using social science approaches, understand and practice research ethics. For this group of health researchers, research ethics is not separate or distinct to their practice of doing research; ethics is embedded in their research practice, from the early stages of research design, to their relationships with their participants, through to the dissemination of findings. These findings will be discussed in context of establishing and ensuring trust in the process of human research.

When 9:00am – 1:00pm, Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Where Medical Foundation Auditorium
92-94 Parramatta Rd, Camperdown
Cost FREE
RSVP Please email Cathy Flitcroft for catering purposes

About the Speakers

Marilys Guillemin is the Director and Associate Professor at the Centre for Health and Society at the University of Melbourne. Her professional academic experience is in sociology of health and illness, particularly in the areas of understandings of illness, health and technology studies, and women’s health. Marilys is an established health researcher whose past major research projects include the management of menopause within specialised clinic settings examining the needs and practices of both women and medical practitioners; research on mid-age women and heart disease particularly focusing on women’s understanding of risk and prevention of heart disease; and research on deafness and genetic testing.

Lynn Gillam holds appointments as Associate Professor in Health Ethics at the Centre for Health and Society at the University of Melbourne, and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and is also the Clinical Ethicist at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. Lynn’s background is in philosophy, theology and bioethics. She teaches ethics in the medical curriculum and the postgraduate social health program. Her research interests include pre-natal diagnosis, genetic testing, and clinical ethics. She also has a strong interest in the intersections between ethics and sociology, and the development of inter-disciplinary qualitative methods suitable for research in ethics. Lynn has 15 years experience on human research ethics committees. She is currently a member of the Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of Melbourne, and the clinical ethics committee of the Royal Children’s Hospital. Lynn has published widely in bioethics, on a range of issues, including clinical ethics, research ethics and ethics committees, the use of human foetal tissue, reproductive technologies and genetic testing.