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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis


Ethics and Ebola: Addressing complex ethical issues in an evolving humanitarian emergency

08 Jan 2015

As the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues, a growing number of investigational interventions have been proposed and are being implemented.

At a special joint CHEPA/Global Health seminar, Lisa Schwartzthe Arnold L. Johnson Chair in Health Care Ethics at McMaster, director of the PhD in Health Policy program and co-associate director of CHEPA, and Ross Upshur, Canada Research Chair in Primary Care Research and head of the Division of Clinical Public Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, U of T, will discuss how competing visions of 'research' in this context raise distinct ethical issues and responses. 

The seminar will be held on Weds. January 14 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in MDCL 3020. The seminar will be available remotely for those who are unable to attend.

One of the early responses from the World Health Organization (WHO) was the formation of an Ethics Working Group to examine the many moral dimensions and dilemmas that accompany the events and responses to the Ebola outbreak.

The complex intersection of public health emergency, humanitarian intervention and research have collectively raised difficult questions such as:

  • How to design ethical clinical research in this context? 
  • Did this particular outbreak warrant acceleration of clinical trials?
  • How have local and global political histories created the groundwork for a humanitarian crisis? 
  • And what, if any, is the obligation to respond across borders and in dangerous, uncertain contexts? 

This seminar will explore these questions and reflect on some of the process and output of the Ebola Working Group.


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