Brocher Summer Academy in Population-level Bioethics: Ethical Issues in Randomized Trials in Development Economics and Health Policy

Brocher Foundation

When: 20-24 June, 2016
Where: Brocher Foundation villa in Hermance, Switzerland
Deadline for applications: 11 March, 2016

The conference offers trainees and younger scholars in development economics, global health, ethics, and related fields and areas of practice an opportunity to participate in five full days of debate and discussion with leading scholars. Those include Angus Deaton (Princeton; this year’s Nobel Laureate in Economics), Michael Marmot (UCL; current President, World Medical Association), Josh Angrist (MIT), Adam Wagstaff (World Bank), Tyler Cowen (George Mason University), Will MacAskill (University of Oxford), Nancy Cartwright (Durham), and many others.

Selection of the applicants will be made by the conference directors, Profs. Nir Eyal and Daniel Wikler (Harvard University), Dr. Anders Huitfeldt (Stanford University), Prof. Samia Hurst (University of Geneva).

Overview / Información general:
“The biennial Summer Academy in the Ethics of Global Population Health is hosted by the Brocher Foundation on the shores of Lake Geneva, introducing faculty and advanced graduate students to population‐level bioethics. This fast‐developing academic field addresses ethical questions in population‐ and global health rather than ones in individual patient care. In recent years, many economists have concluded that the randomized controlled trial (RCT) is the preferred method to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions for economic development.
It is increasingly common for governments in developing countries to run rapid assessments of the policies they consider through small-scale RCTs and for foundations to support both small and larger studies. Communities in low-income countries are randomized to gauge the effects of mosquito net pricing, performance-based pay for healthcare providers, trade facilitation programs, or microfinance. The future direction and pace of such randomized studies will be determined in part by the ethical requirements to which they are subject.
Ethical issues in RCTs are familiar to those at work on RCTs for new drugs and therapeutic approaches in developing countries, and a rich and complex body of commentary and regulation has developed to govern RCTs for new drugs and medical devices. However, it should not automatically be assumed that the correct principles and rules for regulating RCTs in social science are those that govern RCTs in pharmaceutical trials. As RCTs take hold in this new domain, it is critical to ensure that any ethical regulations have been carefully and critically debated so that they are sufficiently sensitive to ethical concerns but not needlessly and pointlessly restrictive of scientific initiative.
At the 2016 Brocher Summer Academy, key experts in the field of global health policy, along with senior academics in several fields, will lecture and lead discussions with talented scholars and practitioners for five full days. Issues will include those most likely to arise during the next several years. Among these are questions about how to conceptualize the trade-off between epistemological and ethical concerns, the (ir)relevance of consent requirement in wide-scale social science studies, the role of uncertainty and “equipoise” in determining the ethical acceptability of a study in medicine and in social science, the acceptability of withholding beneficial interventions from a control group…”

Target Audience / Destinatarios: 40 scholars (faculty post-doctoral fellows and advanced graduate students) in philosophy, political science, economics and other social sciences, the biomedical sciences, and global health, and practitioners and professionals in health policy and global health, selected from applications.

Further Information and Application form / Información adicional y formulario de aplicación: click here.

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