Strangers at the benchside: research ethics consultation

Am J Bioeth. 2008 Mar;8(3):4-13. doi: 10.1080/15265160802132951.


Institutional ethics consultation services for biomedical scientists have begun to proliferate, especially for clinical researchers. We discuss several models of ethics consultation and describe a team-based approach used at Stanford University in the context of these models. As research ethics consultation services expand, there are many unresolved questions that need to be addressed, including what the scope, composition, and purpose of such services should be, whether core competencies for consultants can and should be defined, and how conflicts of interest should be mitigated. We make preliminary recommendations for the structure and process of research ethics consultation, based on our initial experiences in a pilot program.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • California
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Embryo Research / ethics
  • Ethicists / standards*
  • Ethics Committees, Research
  • Ethics Consultation / organization & administration*
  • Ethics, Research*
  • Group Processes
  • Human Experimentation / ethics
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Professional Competence*
  • Program Development
  • Research Personnel / ethics
  • Research Subjects
  • United States