Ethics and Advocacy

Consultations and classes on research ethics

Director:   Eugene Boisaubin, MD
Co-Director: Cheryl Erwin, PhD, MA, JD
Contact person: Eugene Boisaubin, MD  713-500-6633

The ethics and professionalism of researchers and institutions is a mainstream issue in clinical and translational research for several reasons. First, recent scandals in the research community have included allegations of conflict of interest and fraud and call into question how we prepare young scientists for their research careers and how we assist those with established careers. The emphasis of the Ethics and Advocacy Component is not on regulation but rather on the ethical education of the contemporary researcher and providing a firm foundation in the principles of ethical clinical research, including subject advocacy. Psychology-based issues, such as the personal motivations of scientists and physicians that can give rise to conflict of interest, lack of integrity in research, and actual fraud, are also taken into consideration. 

The Component educates researchers through

  • Didactic classes (including a required ethics module for second-year students in the UTHSC-H Medical School)
  • Individual and group consultations (by request)
  • Participation in the CCTS Internal Scientific Advisory Committee (in which every protocol proposed for CCTS support receives an ethics review)
  • Involvement in SPARK  (Scientific Partners Advancing Research Kickoff), a panel of experts who advise on the design and conduct of studies proposed for the CCTS UTHSC-H Clinical Research Unit
  • A study testing whether use of  standardized patients (actors who portray patients in clinical settings for educational purposes) can improve the ability of medical personnel to explain studies and gain better informed consent

For more information on the Component’s programs or to schedule a consultation, please contact Eugene Boisaubin, MD 713-500-6633.