This week, I want to share with you a Youtube video on embryonic stem cell research and whether it is ethical or not. To watch the video please click the link: Is Embryonic Stem Cell Research Ethical?
What impressed me about the video was the fact that it was created by an 8th grader. The video was created in fulfillment of a course project in Walker School. It is 3 minutes long but to the point and with a clear message.
Gareth identified the problem, defined the types of stem cells, their scientific importance, and pointed the controversies regarding embryonic stem cells. He interviewed a school mate to get his opinion and ended the video with quite an interesting conclusion. It is worth noting that Gareth put a list of references to the materials and photos he used in the video.
While watching the video, my mind was flooded with many questions about increasing public awareness in the developing countries about research and its ethics, the use of multimedia facilities to create short and to the point ads to explain research ethics topics simply and effectively, how young can we teach our kids about research ethics? Do we include interesting stories about research ethics as part of their course work? What are the challenges in teaching university medical students about research ethics? Can we incorporate short courses on research ethics? Do we need extensive theoretical background to make the point?
I understand that some medical schools in Egypt are incorporating research ethics topics in their graduate level courses. They are trying to teach Masters and Doctorate students ethical research before the students embark on their theses, but is this a bit too late?
And what about the public as whole, don’t they need to understand more about medical research and how it is conducted? Will that not encourage better enrollment and cooperation from the public? Who should be responsible in developing countries of increasing public awareness? The governments, the researchers, sponsors of research or academic institutions?
Research is important for advancement of nations. It is time for the Middle East countries to catch up with the world since they are singularly lagging behind. To be able to do so, they need to prepare the future generations to understand research and research ethics.
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