Research Ethics Review and Aboriginal Community Values: Can the Two Be Reconciled?
Glass, Kathleen Cranley
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 2007 June; 2(2): 25-40
Contemporary Research Ethics Review Committees (RECs) are heavily influenced by the established academic or health care institutional frameworks in which they operate, sharing a cultural, methodological and ethical perspective on the conduct of research involving humans. The principle of autonomous choice carries great weight in what is a highly individualistic decision-making process in medical practice and research. This assumes that the best protection lies in the ability of patients or research participants to make competent, voluntary, informed choices, evaluating the risks and benefits from a personal perspective. Over the past two decades, North American and international indigenous researchers, policy makers and communities have identified key issues of relevance to them, but ignored by most institutional or university-based RECs. They critique the current research review structure, and propose changes on a variety of levels in an attempt to develop more community sensitive research ethics review processes. In doing so, they have emphasized recognition of collective rights including community consent. Critics see alternative policy guidelines and community-based review bodies as challenging the current system of ethics review. Some view them as reflecting a fundamental difference in values. In this paper, we explore these developments in the context of the political, legal and ethical frameworks that have informed REC review. We examine the process and content of these frameworks and ask how this contrasts with emerging Aboriginal proposals for community-based research ethics review. We follow this with recommendations on how current REC review models might accommodate the requirements of both communities and RECs.
Community Consent; Consent; Ethics; Guidelines; Health; Health Care; Patients; Research; Research Ethics; Researchers; Review; Review Committees; Rights; Risks and Benefits; Values; Human Experimentation Policy Guidelines / Institutional Review Boards; Social Control of Human Experimentation; Research on Special Populations;
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