In joint sponsorship with Cleveland Clinic and UNESCO, the Salim El-Hoss Bioethics and Professionalism Program (SHBPP) at the Faculty of Medicine of the American University of Beirut (AUB) has held its 2nd regional bioethics conference on September 16 & 17, 2011 in Lebanon.
The conference aimed at raising awareness of good research practices and sharing experiences of concerns involved in international clinical trials. Also discussions of the role of National Ethics Research Committees (REC) as well as obstacles faced by local research ethics committees were presented. At the end of the conference there was a meeting to discuss future steps and action plans towards establishing the Arab Biomedical Ethics Society “ABS”
Dr Henry Silverman, the director of the MERETI program and a Professor at Medical School at University of MD, gave several talks during the 2-day conference on the challenges REC face as well as the current status of research in the region. Many MERETI alumni were invited to present their abstracts during a 10 minute discourse. Other speakers included the Program Specialist of Social and Human Sciences and Regional UNESCO officer for Science in Arab States, Ms Orio Ikebe who highlighted the efforts of the UNESCO in the bioethics and research ethics fields in the Arab region and Dr Gregory Larkin, a professor and Vice Chair of Faculty Development and Global Health at Yale University and the advisor to the CDC/NCIPC (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control), elaborated on the concerns as well as the process of informed consent (IC). He detailed the requirements of an IC and addressed problems of taking an IC in emergency setting.
The MERETI speakers presented a variety of topics which included but were not limited to evaluation of distance learning training on research ethics in King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan, knowledge of research ethics among faculty members at Beni Seuif Medical School in Egypt, a self assessment tool for developing countries, perception of research among patients in Alexandria clinical research facility and the Egyptian Network of Research Ethics Committees role and achievements. You can view the power point presentations at Beirut Conference.
The conference concluded with the second regional meeting of the Arab Biomedical Ethics Society (ABS) which is the first network that addresses biomedical issues in the region and currently has 20 Arab member states. ABS is hoping to become the leading regional professional body that advocates patients’ as well as research participants’ rights. The goals of the society are to raise public and professional awareness and educate healthcare professionals and researchers on biomedical ethics standards. The means by which ABS hopes to achieve such goals are via generating and disseminating knowledge, building capacity of individuals, auditing accreditation processes as well as mapping the ethics capacity of institutes and lastly but not the least encouraging collaboration and partnerships between member states.
Written by Dr Noha Assem an Assistant Lecturer of Public Health and Community Medicine and IRB coordinator in Faculty of Medicine in Cairo University. She took her MERETI training in 2006