The Fogarty International Center’s (FIC) International Bioethics Education and Career Development Award Program (referred to hereinafter as the “Bioethics program”), addresses an important need in clinical research in developing countries and has already made important contributions in its first five years of existence. Clinical research in developing countries is essential to better understand and treat diseases whose burdens are disproportionately great in these regions. Ethical issues in research need to be resolved in order for scientists to gain the trust of the public and research participants. FIC conducts qualitative process evaluations of its programs every five years. In May 2005, the Fogarty International Center convened a panel of six experts in research ethics and curriculum development to review progress of the first five years of the Bioethics program and to make suggestions regarding its future. This review served as the first formal evaluation of the Bioethics program. With the program goals in mind, the panel spoke with Bioethics Principal Investigators (PIs), past and current program trainees, FIC program officer, National Institutes of Health (NIH) partners, and outside experts in bioethics and clinical research ethics. During these interviews, the panel explored the impact of the program with respect to FIC’s mission and program goals as well as the impact on developing country researchers and institutions in order to suggest improvements and modifications to all areas of the Bioethics program. In accordance with the Fogarty Evaluation Framework, the panelists explored five aspects of the program: Program Planning, Program Management, Partnerships and Program Results with regard to Re-entry and Post-training Activities, and Program Results with regard to program Outcomes and Metrics of Success. The panelists noted that even though it is relatively new, the trainee from the Bioethics program has published papers in high-impact journals, successfully obtained NIH funding, and established national ethics review committees. The panel strongly recommended the continuation and support of the Bioethics program, and suggested several modifications to strengthen its impact in the developing world and more closely align its objectives with the goals of FIC and the other NIH partners. The review panel made nine formal recommendations on modifications and improvements to the Bioethics program.
PIC ID: 8201; Agency Sponsor: NIH-FIC, Fogarty International Center; Federal Contact: Kupfer, Linda, 301-496-3288; Performer: Abt Associates Inc., Cambridge, MA