Research Ethics Workshop

April 5-6, 2002

Kirksville Chapter of Sigma Xi

News Release:  April 10, 2002

Sigma Xi Sponsors Workshop on Research Ethics

"Some institutions say that they cannot afford to teach courses on ethics.  My question is whether they can afford NOT to teach courses in ethics," commented Gail Gibbons, J.D.  She was addressing approximately 50 faculty and students from Truman State University and Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine who were taking part in the Workshop on Research Ethics.  This workshop, which was sponsored by the Kirksville Chapter of Sigma Xi with support from Truman State University and Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, was held last weekend at Truman State University.  Mike Goggin, president of the Kirksville Chapter of Sigma Xi stated that "We hoped this workshop would provide established researchers, as well as students, an opportunity to contemplate and openly discuss a wide range of ethical issues which arise in research settings."

During the course of the two-day workshop, the participants heard lectures by three distinguished speakers.  On Friday afternoon, Ms. Gibbons spoke about the "Responsible Conduct of Research".  Ms. Gibbons is the Deputy Chief, Office of Research Integrity, Office of the General Counsel, United States Department of Health and Human Services.  Gibbons, who is one of the lawyers responsible for prosecuting cases of scientific misconduct involving research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, described instances of falsification of data by scientists.  While these cases involve a minority of researchers, she concluded that scientists must actively discuss and teach the ethics of research.  This sentiment was echoed by one participant who commented that this was a "very important topic" and that he would "love to see more ethics training at all levels."

On Saturday morning, Jerry Menikoff, J.D., M.D., gave a talk entitled "The Myth and Reality of Informed Consent to Research" which focused on what was involved in obtaining informed consent from people enrolled in clinical research projects.  Dr. Menikoff is an Assistant Professor of Law, Ethics & Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical School and Director of Hospital Ethics at the University of Kansas Hospital.  His talk identified four components which must be covered when obtaining informed consent from patients participating in research projects, and showed examples of consent documents which failed to meet these criteria.  "I will certainly evaluate informed consent documents with a different focus," noted one attendee after listening to Dr. Menikoff's talk.

The second plenary speech delivered on Saturday was by Richard Doyle, D.V.M. who spoke on the "Ethical Use of Animals in Research".  Dr. Doyle is Chairman of the Department of Comparative Medicine at Saint Louis University.  In his examination of the ethics of animal research, Doyle provided an historical perspective on the ethical questions surrounding animal research and then analyzed the nine principles that underlie current rules and laws that regulate the use of animals in research.  One participant noted that Dr. Doyle's talk and the discussion that followed, "forced me to re-analyze the ideas behind our animal care rules."

After the plenary lectures, the workshop participants formed small groups to discuss case studies involving such ethical questions as plagiarism, misrepresentation of data, pain research involving animals, whether patients' consent is needed to utilize clinical samples obtained for other purposes, and under what conditions is it permissible to mislead human subjects about the actual purpose of behavioral research projects.  The discussion groups on Friday were led by Gibbons, KCOM faculty members: George Carlson and Jane Johnson, and Truman faculty members: Scott Alberts, Michael Kelrick, Dennis Leavens, Shirley Morahan, and Dana Delaware.  The discussion groups on Saturday were led by Doyle, Menikoff, KCOM faculty members: Orin Mock, Robert Theobald, and Diana Rhodes, and Truman faculty members: David Murphy, John Rutter, Fred Shaffer, and Michael Goggin.

Sigma Xi is a national honor society for science and engineering, dedicated to promoting scientific enterprise and honoring scientific achievements.  The Kirksville Chapter was founded in 1989 and is comprised principally of faculty and students from Truman State University and Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.  More information about Sigma Xi can be found on the internet at http://SigmaXi.Truman.edu.

Top panel: Panel on Ethics in Animal Research with (from left to right) Orin Mock (KCOM), Richard Doyle (Saint Louis University), John Rutter (Truman), and David Murphy (Truman).

Second panel: Discussion group on Ethics in Human Research with (from left to right) Judi Misale (Truman), Fred Shaffer (Truman), Robert Theobald (KCOM), Gail Gibbons (Office of Research Integrity, DHHS), and Herbert Yates (KCOM).

Third panel: Discussion group on Plagiarism with (from left to right) Shirley Morahan (Truman), Dennis Leavens (Truman), George Carlson (KCOM), and Michael Kelrick (Truman).

Botton panels: Keynote addresses given by (from left to right) Richard Doyle, D.V.M. (Saint Louis University), Gail Gibbons, J.D. (Office of Research Integrity, DHHS), and Jerry Menikoff, J.D., M.D. (University of Kansas Medical School).

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Created:  June 28, 2002.  Last update:  June 28, 2002

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