On October 12-13, 2010, we partnered with University of Botswana to hold a very productive Research Ethics Workshop in Gaborone, Botswana.  The workshop, held at the University of Botswana, included eight sessions devoted to key issues in research ethics application and teaching.  Six of our program trainees and alumni played integral roles in lecturing, leading and facilitating case discussions and sessions throughout the symposium.

The first day began with an introductory session chaired by Professor Isaac Mazonde, Director of UB’s Office of Research and Development.  Mr. Paul Ndebele of UB-ORD and Drs. Adnan Hyder and Nancy Kass of JHU participated in the opening session.  University of Botswana’s Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Professor Frank Youngman closed the session by outlining the University’s vision for advancing research and research ethics.

Dr. Kass and Dr. Joseph Gaie led Session 2, entitled Ethical Analysis, Principles, & Moral Considerations.  While Dr. Kass introduced core principles of research ethics, Dr. Gaie related them to the Botho philosophy.  Botho, derived from the Twsana language of Botswana, signifies a person of good character, a social contract of mutual respect, and a commitment to common good of society.  A case discussion about a study that documents the health conditions of an indigenous community followed, incorporating attention to cultural commitments, risks and benefits in research.

Mr. Paul Ndebele led Session 3 on Research Ethics Committees, including what faculty need to know in advising students conducting research projects.

Session 4 was devoted to group work on four case studies.  The case studies were from four health and non-health related disciplines, and participants talked through the case best matched for their own backgrounds.

On Day 2, Dr. Poloko Kebaabetswe and Mr. Joseph Ali led talks about the elements and strategies of informed consent; waivers of informed consent; community engagement and undue inducement.  The session ended with an informed consent scenario role-play activity that was enjoyed by all.

A session on Teaching Research Ethics was then led by Mr. Derrick Elemu of Zambia (FABTP 2009) and Dr. Hyder and discussed why teaching research ethics is important; study design and ethics; strategies for teaching research ethics in a methods course; techniques for student engagement/mentorship; and research ethics teaching resources.

Dr. Rekha Kumar, Mr. Ndebele and Dr. Kass led a session on honesty in research, covering topics related to professional integrity, data management, authorship, and mentorship.  Participants disscussed of two research misconduct cases and applied UB policies to the cases.

The closing session of the workshop was run by Dr. Hyder, Mr. Ndebele, Dr. Kass and Professor Mazonde.

The workshop was tremendously successful.  It was wonderful to catch up with our trainees and build a stronger relationship between UB/JHU.

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