The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics will host its first “Global Bioethics Week” June 10-14, designed to launch two unique global research ethics initiatives, in collaboration with colleagues from several African universities.

Global Bioethics Week kicks off with the inaugural meeting of a new bioethics consortium between the Berman Institute and three African universities: University of Zambia, School of Medicine; Makerere University, College of Health Sciences; and University of Botswana, Office of Research & Development. The establishment of the consortium represents a new phase of the Berman Institute’s 13-year-old Johns Hopkins Fogarty African Bioethics Training Program (FABTP), focusing on building self-sustaining capacity for research ethics work within and between African universities. 

“Too often over the past decade, research ethics capacity development work in Africa has involved sending trainees away to well-resourced institutions, only to face major challenges back at home that limited their ability to implement what they had learned,” says co- program director Nancy Kass, the Deputy Director for Public Health at BI. “This consortium will deepen institutional capacity at three strong African universities to support research ethics in ways that allow local experts to build, share and sustain their own research ethics programs,” she says.

Global Bioethics Week will also include a first-of-its-kind workshop, “Ethics of Health Systems Research in Low and Middle Income Countries,” co-sponsored by the BI and the Health Systems Program in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Representatives from the three African universities will participate, joined by faculty from across Johns Hopkins University and other experts in ethics and health systems research.

Adnan Hyder, director of the Health Systems Program, Associate Director for Global Bioethics at BI, and co-program director of FABTP with Kass, noted that there are unique ethical concerns when reviewing and conducting health systems research in countries where people are already stressed by public health, economic, social, and political instability.

“This workshop is the first such meeting bringing global scholars of varying disciplines together to discuss these challenges, and work toward novel solutions,” Hyder says. “Johns Hopkins is in a unique position to further global dialogue on ethical issues around health systems research due to the university’s strong bioethics expertise and renowned experience in international health systems.”

In addition to the Global Bioethics Week events, six faculty members from the FABTP consortium African universities will spend the month of June in bioethics intensive courses, meetings with Johns Hopkins faculty and Institutional Review Boards, and visits to the National Institutes of Health Department of Bioethics, the Food and Drug Administration and other federal agencies in Washington, DC.

For more information on the Berman Institute’s Global Bioethics Program or intensive courses (open to all) at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, contact Joseph Ali at jali@jhu.edu class="MsoHyperlink".