ethical guidelines for epidemiological research

These committees may be created under the aegis of national or local health administrations, national medical research councils, or other nationally representative health-care bodies. Both premature and unnecessarily delayed release of research findings can be more beneficial than harmful to individuals and to society. Ethical duties are more general than ethical rules. Truth-telling and objectivity are professional duties and they can also be thought of as virtues. Modeling ethically appropriate conduct while mentoring students and junior colleagues is particularly important. Avoiding Conflicts of Interest and Partiality, 2.10. The third part is a more detailed discussion of these guidelines. Protection of confidentiality is required not only to follow the ethical principle of respecting persons, but also because the disclosure of certain information to third parties may cause harm to an individual, e.g., discrimination in employment, housing, and health insurance coverage. Doing no research is often unacceptable from an ethical perspective, where there is clinical uncertainty. Adhering to the highest scientific standards, 2.8.2. The reader is encouraged to read them in full for more information3,5. Coughlin SS, Beauchamp TL, eds. Trust is an expression of faith and confidence that epidemiologists will be fair, reliable, ethical, competent, and nonthreatening. This document, which is indebted to past efforts to develop ethics guidelines for epidemiologists and to the commentary that has accompanied such efforts, provides the first set of ethics guidelines for the American College of Epidemiology. Submitting Proposed Studies for Ethical Review, 3.9. American Public Health Association. In addition, epidemiologists increasingly have a role as expert witnesses in courts of law and in the discovery process. 2.8.2 Involving community representatives in research. (1) Ensuring the scientific rationale and ethical propriety of epidemiological research (i) A researcher, etc. To promote and preserve public trust, epidemiologists should adhere to the highest ethical standards and follow relevant laws and regulations concerning the conduct of epidemiologic research and practice activities, including the protection of human research participants; confidentiality protections; and disclosure or avoidance of conflicts of interest. Contributions to the peer review process, such as service on a grant review panel or as a reviewer for a scientific journal, are consistent with virtuous conduct in epidemiology. Epidemiologists should provide training and education in ethics to students of the discipline as well as to practicing scientists. The Indian Council of Medical research brought out the 'Policy Statement on Ethical Considerations involved in Research on Human Subjects' in 1980 and revised these guidelines in 2000 as the 'Ethical guidelines for Biomedical Research on Human Subjects'. 1 of 2007), originally in 2002 and later amended entirely in 2007, and the Epidemiologists should employ the means available to them to contribute to scientific findings and techniques so as to provide benefits to society and advance the profession. International Epidemiological Association. For example, vulnerable classes of persons in society and those in special need may merit additional benefits (while bearing fewer burdens). Extract from Introduction (p. 6): “Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and … Informed consent in epidemiologic research before the implementation of ethical guidelines. Broadly, this requires competence, autonomy (voluntary and lacking coercion), and consent, as well as full comprehension of the risks, burdens, and benefits.4, Specifically, informed consent includes three key components:2. Epidemiologists should avoid conflicts of interest and be objective. Avoidance of manipulation or coercion, 2.6.3. Ethics in epidemiological studies is multidimensional covering clinical medicine, public … International Ethical Guidelines for Epidemiological Studies. 06480440], 1c - Health Care Evaluation and Health Needs Assessment, 2b - Epidemiology of Diseases of Public Health Significance, 2h - Principles and Practice of Health Promotion, 2i - Disease Prevention, Models of Behaviour Change, 4a - Concepts of Health and Illness and Aetiology of Illness, 5a - Understanding Individuals,Teams and their Development, 5b - Understanding Organisations, their Functions and Structure, 5d - Understanding the Theory and Process of Strategy Development, 5f Finance, Management Accounting and Relevant Theoretical Approaches, Past Papers (available on the FPH website), Applications of health information for practitioners, Applications of health information for specialists, Population health information for practitioners, Population health information for specialists, Sickness and Health Information for specialists, 1. Epidemiologists are frequently drawn to the problems of unempowered communities and may require special sensitivity in dealing with them. The results of studies in progress should not be reported to the media or others if such reporting could jeopordize the scientific integrity of the study or mislead the public. The first version was adopted in 1964 and has been amended seven times since, most recently in 2013. The ethics of epidemiology and public health have emerged from several sources, including:3. shall not conduct … Epidemiologists often use personal data, so privacy must be respected. All research findings and other information important to public health should be communicated in a timely, understandable, and responsible manner so that the widest possible community stands to benefit. Minimizing Risks and Protecting the Welfare of Research Participants, 2.4. 2.6.3 Conditions under which informed consent requirements may be waived. Study findings should be interpreted and made available to the public in accordance with the current scientific thinking about the utility and validity of the information. Geneva: CIOMS. Epidemiologists should take appropriate measures to protect the privacy of individuals and to keep confidential all information about individual research participants during and after a study. The goal should be to communicate the core values and obligations of a professional epidemiologist (i.e., ethics guidelines) and to provide an ethical foundation so that students can deal appropriately with ethical challenges that they will face in their future practice. Over the last 50 years, there have been a number of guidelines published, which aim to improve the ethical standards of epidemiological research. Other professional roles in epidemiology include teaching, consulting, and administration. The importance of adhering to the highest scientific standards (for example, by choosing an appropriate study design; writing a clear and complete protocol; using proper procedures for the collection, transmission, storage, and analysis of data; and properly interpreting and reporting results) is highlighted in standards of practice that have been developed in the field. Steps should also be taken to maximize the potential benefits of public health practice activities. ... Epidemiological research 3. Research results should be published in an appropriate journal without undue delay. The attention that epidemiologists give to standards of practice (as discussed in section 3.1) also helps to maintain public trust. Consideration of risks includes attention not only to physical risks as a result of direct contact with participants but also to psychological, economic, legal, or social risks. In couples research, the primary ethical tension entails balancing the risks and benefits to the participating individuals, to the couple, and to society. The quality of research should also be optimised; poor research may lead to wrong decisions which may have a profound negative impact on patient health.3 Equally it is unethical to undertake research that would involve withholding a treatment that has been previously proven to be clinically effective. The members of the writing group were (alphabetically) Germaine Buck, Steven S. Coughlin (Chair), Rosanne B. McTyre, Dixie E. Snider, Jr., Colin L. Soskolne, and Douglas L. Weed. The rights of the accused to due process should also be respected. Applied terms. In addressing such issues, epidemiologists should give due consideration to the complexity of many ethical issues and attempt, where possible and appropriate, to educate rather than to confront. However, in the real world, other factors often interfere with this aspiration and can result in conflicts of interest. Ethics, Values, and Mission Statements ... Chapter 11 New Ethics Guidelines for Epidemiology: Background and Rationale with ... a Scorecard Research survey may pop-up. As part of some population-based studies, it may be feasible to impart some health care advantage to the community following completion of the study, such as epidemiologic research that leads to the establishment of a local disease registry or the training of members of a community in basic methods of population research, or a health care services program. Prineas RJ, Goodman K, Soskolne CL, et al. Fayerweather WE, Higginson J, Beauchamp TL, eds. Adhering to the highest scientific standards includes choosing an appropriate study design for the scientific hypothesis or question to be answered; writing a clear and complete protocol for the study; using proper procedures for the collection, transmission, storage, and analysis of data; making appropriate interpretations from the data analyses; and writing up and disseminating the results of the study in a manner consistent with accepted procedures for scientific publication. There are precautions researchers can take – in the planning, implementation and follow-up of studies – to protect these participants in research. Ethical guidelines for epidemiologists (draft). The potential benefits of epidemiologic research include providing scientific data that policy makers can use to formulate sound public health policy. Protecting Confidentiality and Privacy, 2.6. Epidemiologists should not enter into contractual obligations that are contingent upon reaching particular conclusions from a proposed study. Industrial Epidemiology Forum's Conference on Ethics in Epidemiology. Over the last 50 years, there have been a number of guidelines published, which aim to improve the ethical standards of epidemiological research. The guidelines are designed to enable countries to define national policy on the ethics of epidemiological research and practice, adopt ethical standards for their specific national needs, and establish adequate mechanisms for ethical review of epidemiological studies. The Guidelines shall regulate appropriate conduct in epidemiological research for better public understanding and support, and address ethical issues protecting individual freedoms and privacy rights as well as scientific conduct, the importance of epidemiological research in public health as well enclosing as academic freedom. Such measures contribute directly to the potential benefits of epidemiologic studies to the scientific community and to society. Investigators should disclose any potential material conflicts of interest to their study collaborators, sponsors, research participants, journal editors, and their employer. Soskolne CL, Light A. Epidemiologists should take appropriate measures to prevent their data from publication or release in a form that would allow individuals to be personally identified. Exceptions are justified in both epidemiologic research and in public health practice only if there is an overriding moral concern such as a health emergency or a legal requirement. Identifiable personal information should not be used when a study can be conducted without personal identifiers, unless discarding personal identifiers would preclude personal health benefits for the participants. In this section, a more detailed discussion of the ethics guidelines appearing in Part II above is provided. Morever, epidemiological studies can either be therapeutics or non-therapeutics, and this has implication on ethical issues involved which vary de- pending on the type of the research. Information - there should be adequate disclosure of information regarding risks, burdens and benefits, enabling the patient or subject to make an informed choice. 1996;184. Research has to be funded, carried out and ultimately published, whilst researchers seek to promote their reputations and careers. Files containing personal identifiers (name, security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, etc) should be stored in locked cabinets. However, even in outbreak investigations it is often feasible and desirable to disclose information about the purpose of the investigation. Additional disclosures may be necessary depending on the circumstances. The publication of both positive and negative research findings is important, since it helps to prevent publication bias and allows for additional benefits to be gleaned through meta-analyses. In this document, we are concerned with the latter. The public also has a right to know about hazards to health and to be equipped to make evidence-based choices concerning treatment and prevention. A consideration of the potential harms and risks of epidemiologic research also relates to the need to obtain the informed consent of participants as discussed in detail in Section 3.6. Protocols for collecting data for population-based or community studies should be submitted to the local health authorities where the study is to be conducted (e.g., State and local health departments in Canada or the United States and ministry of health in many developing countries). These guidelines also do not provide a comprehensive account of professional duties and ethical concerns in epidemiology subspecialty areas such as molecular epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, clinical epidemiology, reproductive and perinatal epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology, and psychosocial epidemiology. Indeed, epidemiologists who advocate should be open to the possibility of changing their views as new evidence or other relevant information becomes available. Informed consent in epidemiologic research before the implementation of ethical guidelines. Rather, specific decisions in particular circumstances require judgments made upon reflection of the core values, obligations, and virtues described in these guidelines. Involving community representatives in research, 2.9. Providing community service (for example, providing scientific expertise to community-based organizations) is an epidemiologic virtue. Ensuring an Equitable Distribution of Risks and Benefits, 2.5. Assisted Reproductive Technologies Improvements in practice activities (for example, enhanced surveillance systems) also provide benefits to society. Examples of virtuous conduct in interacting with colleagues include avoiding personal attacks and appropriately citing the work of others. Due to further rapid developments in science and technology in India after In response, various governmental bodies are considering or have enacted strict laws regarding the confidentiality of health information. To promote public trust, especially in unempowered communities, epidemiologists should consider adopting a "participatory" approach to a research project. True. Finally, we note that ethics guidelines do not provide the final word on issues of ethical concern. Confidential medical and other vital records that identify individuals are essential to epidemiologic research and practice, and identification of persons whose records have been obtained may be needed to prevent those individuals (or others who have contact with them) from developing disease or to identify the disease at an early stage. The mere formulation of ethical guidelines for epidemiological research involving human subjects will hardly resolve all the moral doubts that can arise in association with such research. The group recognized 89 how widely the latter document has been disseminated, so that it is now the basic 90 conceptual and practical guide when research undergoes ethical review in institutions © Copyright 2018 American College of Epidemiology. The focus is on both the obligation of researchers to disclose information about risks and potential harms and the quality of the consent of the research participant. 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