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Research Ethics

Research Ethics Service

The Research Ethics Service, led by Kayte Spector-Bagdady, JD, MBioethics and Raymond De Vries, PhD within the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, aims to enable a culture of normative, empirical, and educational inquiry to serve as the ethical backbone of research at Michigan Medicine. Its three areas of focus include:


1. Education: providing instruction on Research Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research;
2. Consultation: offering a consulting service for colleagues with questions about the ethical conduct of research; 
3. Research: using a variety of methods to study issues in Research Ethics.


Research Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research Education

Coursework and independent projects into research ethics and the responsible conduct of research may be available upon request. Current courses include the Responsible Conduct of Research for K Awardees (RCR4K) Implementation Package offered through the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) and Legal Rules and Ethical Issues for Clinical Research (HMP 540) through the Clinical Research Design and Statistic Analysis Masters Program at the UM School of Public Health.


Research Ethics Consultation Service

Personalized Research Ethics Consultation may be available during normal business hours for investigators across Michigan Medicine designing or conducting their own research protocols. For further information or to request a consultation please contact kaytesb@med.umich.edu.


Mixed Methods Research into Human Subjects Research Ethics

The Program in Research Ethics also supports a vibrant mixed-methods empirical program for research on human subjects research ethics.

Bioethics Grand Rounds -Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil

Wed, October 25, 2017, 12:00pm
Location: 
UH Ford Auditorium

Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil

Title – "Ethical Issues Related to Fundraising from Grateful Patients"

Abstract: Health care institutions are becoming increasingly deliberate about philanthropic fundraising given the need to sustain their missions in the face of decreases in governmental research funds and lowering reimbursement for clinical care.  Donations from grateful patients constitute 20% of all philanthropic contributions to academic medical centers, totaling nearly $1 billion a year in recent years.  Institutions frequently employ development professionals to facilitate philanthropy. The development literature describes various approaches for identifying patients capable of contributing, cultivating potential donors, and engaging physicians in the solicitation of grateful patients, emphasizing that patients themselves may also benefit from exercising altruism in this way.  However, little evidence exists to guide the ethical practice of grateful patient fundraising, and concerns exist regarding privacy and confidentiality, patient vulnerability, and physicians' conflicts of obligations in this context.  Therefore, we will discuss how the process of philanthropic development should be structured in order to demonstrate respect for all persons involved, including patients who donate, those who might consider donation, those who do not wish to donate, and those who cannot afford to do so.

Lunch is provided. Please note: Lunch is first come, first served.

 

Announcement of Position: Clinician Ethicist

Announcement of Position: Clinician Ethicist


Background
The Program in Clinical Ethics within the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine (CBSSM) represents an expansion of existing services designed to promote a culture of patient-centered excellence by developing a comprehensive set of ethics-related activities. The aims of this program are to: liaise with and provide support to the adult and pediatrics ethics committees; streamline clinical ethics consultation; assist with ethics-related policy development on a regular and proactive basis; organize and administer structured educational programs in clinical ethics; and coordinate empiric research with relevance to clinical ethics within CBSSM.


Program Organization
The Program in Clinical Ethics is co-directed by the chairs of the adult and pediatric ethics committees and consultation services, Christian J. Vercler, MD MA and Andrew G. Shuman, MD. A dedicated clinician ethicist will manage the program on a daily basis. A cadre of eight faculty ethicists will rotate on service throughout the year and work closely with the clinician ethicist. Trainees and students will rotate as well. Dedicated administrative support will be organized through CBSSM.


Position
One individual will serve as the program’s clinical ethicist. This individual will serve as the “first responder” and contact person for all ethics consults during business hours, ensure continuity with consults, and work in conjunction with faculty ethicists. The role will include arranging team/family meetings, ensuring follow-ups on all consults, and arranging additional consultations as needed for selected cases. He/she will also regularly review relevant institutional policies and attend all ethics committee meetings. Another major component of this role will be to organize and participate in educational efforts and preventative ethics rounds. This position will provide $50,000 of direct salary support annually, to be distributed and allocated in conjunction with their home department. The initial appointment will last two years and is renewable.


Qualifications
Candidates are expected to be employees or faculty at UMHS with a master’s or equivalent terminal degree in their field; any professional background is acceptable. Direct experience with clinical ethics consultation is required. Familiarity with ethics education and related clinical research would be helpful. Excellent organizational and communication skills across multidisciplinary medical fields are required. Candidates are expected to have qualifications that meet the standards outlined by The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) for accreditation for clinical ethics consultants.


Application Process
Candidates will be vetted, interviewed and chosen by a nomination committee. Candidates are asked to submit:

  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • One page maximum summary of (1) education/training related to ethics consultation; (2) clinical ethics consultation experience; and (3) motivation/interest in the position
  • Letter of support from Department Chair/Division Head/Center Director or equivalent
  • Submit formal application via email to: valkahn@med.umich.edu


Timeline

  • Application is due December 11, 2015 with interviews shortly thereafter
  • Appointment will take effect January 1, 2016


Contacts

  • Co-Directors of the Program in Clinical Ethics: Christian J. Vercler, MD MA & Andrew G. Shuman, MD
  • Administrative contact: Valerie Kahn – valkahn@med.umich.edu 734 615 5371

Raymond De Vries, PhD

Associate Director

Raymond De Vries PhD is Associate Director at the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan and is a Professor in the Department of Learning Health Sciences and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is also visiting professor at CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, University of Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Last Name: 
De Vries

Conference on Bioethics: First Do No Harm: Avoiding Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Medicine

Sat, November 11, 2017, 8:45am
Location: 
Sheraton Ann Arbor Hotel | 3200 Boardwalk Street | Ann Arbor, MI

Registration available here.
 
8:45 am
Welcome, Opening Remarks, and Presentation of Certification of Appreciation Award to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation
Lauren B. Smith, MD, Chair, MSMS Committee on Bioethics; Department of Pathology, University of Michigan
Audrey J. Harvey, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation; and,
Shauna Ryder-Diggs, MD, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation
 
9:00 - 10:00 am
7 Assumptions that Drive Too Much Medical Care
H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Community & Family Medicine, The Dartmouth Institute, The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Adjunct Professor, Business Administration, Tuck School
of Business and Adjunct Professor, Public Policy, Dartmouth College
 
10:00 - 11:00 am
Responding to those who Hope for a Miracle
Devan Stahl, PhD, Assistant Professor, Center for Ethics & Humanities in the Life Sciences, Department of Pediatrics & Human Development, Michigan State University
 
11:15 am - 12:15 pm
Whose Decision is it Anyway? Code Status and the Unilateral DNAR
Adam Marks, MD, Associate Director of the Adult Palliative and Supportive Care Clinic, East Ann Arbor Health and Geriatrics Center, Adult Palliative Care Medical Director, Arbor Hospice
 
1:15 - 2:15 pm
Capacity for Preferences: An Overlooked Factor in Ethical Dilemmas with Incapacitated Patients
Jason A. Wasserman, PhD, Associate Professor, Biomedical Science, Faculty Advisor on Professionalism, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine; and,
Mark C. Navin, PhD, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
 
2:15 - 3:15 pm
Over-treatment/Over-diagnosis of Genetic Testing
Michele Gornick, PhD, MA, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School
 
3:30 - 4:30 pm
Case Studies
 
4:30 pm
Closing Remarks
Lauren B. Smith, MD, University of Michigan

2011 CBSSM Research Colloquium

Fri, May 20, 2011 (All day)

The second annual Bioethics Research Colloquium was held Friday, May 20, 2011, at the Alumni Center.  The Colloquium was jointly sponsored by the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine and the Center for Ethics in Public Life. 

The majority of the colloquium was devoted to presentations of research in or about bioethics conducted by University of Michigan faculty, fellows and students.  Presentations focused on theoretical, empirical, and critical approaches to understanding and resolving ethical issues in health care and the life sciences.

Presenters:

  • Apurba Chakrabarti, Department of Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology: A bureaucratic framework of IRBs: Understanding how cultural forces influence the contemporary IRB bureaucracy.
  • Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman, Department of Philosophy: Online sexual racism and the prevalence of HIV among black MSM. 
  • Susan Dorr Goold, MD, MHSA, MA, Department of Internal Medicine: Market failures, moral failures, and health reform (keynote).
  • Henry Greenspan, PhD, Residential College, LSA: Temptation and trespass in the pharmaceutical industry: Incentivizing ethical self-regulation. 
  • Lisa H. Harris, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology: Obstetrician-gynecologists' objections to and willingness to help patients obtain abortion in various clinical scenarios: A national survey. 
  • Aisha T. Langford, MPH, Comprehensive Cancer Center: The misdiagnosis of the minority problem in cancer clinical trials: Is our focus on medical mistrust causing harm? 
  • Naomi Laventhal, MD, Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases: Innovative therapies in the newborn intensive care unit: The ethics of off-label use of therapeutic hypothermia.
  • Erika Manu, MD, Department of Internal Medicine: Resident attitudes and experience with palliative care in patients with advanced dementia.
  • Karen M. Meagher, Department of Philosophy (MSU): Considering virtue: Public health and clinical ethics.
  • Andrew Shuman, MD, Department of Otolaryngology: The right not to hear: The ethics of parental refusal of hearing rehabilitation.
  • Lauren Smith, MD, Department of Pathology: Pathology review of outside material: When does it help and when can it hurt? 

2014 CBSSM Research Colloquium and Bishop Lecture (Myra Christopher)

Thu, May 15, 2014 (All day)
Location: 
Vandenberg Meeting Hall (2nd floor), The Michigan League, 911 N. University, Ann Arbor, MI

2014 CBSSM Colloquium and Bishop Lecture featuring Myra Christopher

The Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine (CBSSM) Research Colloquium was held Thursday, May 15, 2014 at the Vandenberg Meeting Hall (2nd floor), The Michigan League, 911 N. University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
 

The CBSSM Research Colloquium featured the Bishop Lecture in Bioethics as the keynote address.  Myra Christopher presented the Bishop Lecture with a talk entitled: "The Moral Imperative to Transform the Way Pain is Perceived, Judged and Treated." Myra Christopher holds the Kathleen M. Foley Chair in Pain and Palliative Care at the Center for Practical Bioethics.

The 2014 Research Colloquium presenters:

  • Andrew G. Shuman, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Michigan: "When Not to Operate: The Dilemma of Surgical Unresectability"
  • Phoebe Danziger, MD, University of Michigan Medical School: "Beliefs, Biases, and Ethical Dilemmas in the Perinatal Counseling and Treatment of Severe Kidney Anomalies"
  • Kathryn L. Moseley, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan: "Electronic Medical Records: Challenges for Clinical Ethics Consultation"
  • Helen Morgan, MD,  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan: "Academic Integrity in the Pre-Health Undergraduate Experience"
  • Tanner Caverly, MD, MPH, Health Services Research Fellow, Ann Arbor VA Medical Center and Clinical Lecturer, University of Michigan: "How Transparent are Cancer Screening & Prevention Guidelines about the Benefits and Harms of What They Recommend?"
  • Susan D. Goold, MD, MHSA, MA , Professor of Internal Medicine and Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Michigan: "Controlling Health Costs: Physician Responses to Patient Expectations for Medical Care"
 

 

Funded by National Institutes of Health; National Institute of Mental Health

Funding Years: 2012-2017

This project will test a practical intervention that uses low cost technologies to activate depressed patients' existing social networks for self-management support. The intervention links patients with a "CarePartner" (CP), i.e., a non-household family member or close friend who is willing to support the patient in coordination with the clinician and any existing in-home caregiver (ICG). Through weekly automated telemonitoring, patients report their mood and self-management status, and receive tailored guidance on self-management. The CP receives a corresponding update along with guidance on how to best support the patient's self-management efforts, and the primary care team is notified about clinically urgent situations. The intervention will be tested among depressed primary care patients from clinics serving low-income and underinsured patients, whom the intervention was especially designed to benefit. Specific Aim 1 is to conduct a randomized controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of one year of telemonitoring-supported CP for depression versus usual care (control) on depression severity. Specific Aim 2 is to examine key secondary outcomes (response and remission, impairment, well-being, caregiving burden, healthcare costs) and potential moderators. Specific Aim 3 is to use a mixed-methods approach to enrich our interpretation of the statistical associations, and to discover strategies to enhance the intervention's acceptability, effectiveness, and sustainability. If the intervention proves effective without increasing clinician burden or marginal costs, then its subsequent implementation could yield major public health benefits, especially in medically underserved populations.

PI(s): James Aikens

Co-I(s): Michael Fetters, John Piette, Ananda Sen, Marcia Valenstein, Daniel Eisenberg, Daphne Watkins

Does order matter when distributing resources? (Jun-03)

Should people with more severe health problems receive state funding for treatment before people with less severe health problems? See how your opinion compares with the opinions of others.

Imagine that you are a government official responsible for deciding how state money is spent on different medical treatments. Your budget is limited so you cannot afford to offer treatment to everyone who might benefit. Right now, you must choose to spend money on one of two treatments.

  • Treatment A treats a life threatening illness. It saves patients' lives and returns them to perfect health after treatment
  • Treatment B treats a different life threatening illness. It saves patients' lives but is not entirely effective and leaves them with paraplegia after treatment. These patients are entirely normal before their illness but after treatment will have paraplegia.

Suppose the state has enough money to offer Treatment A to 100 patients. How many patients would have to offered Treatment B so that you would have difficulty choosing which treatment to offer?

How do your answers compare?

The average person said that it would become difficult to decide which treatment to offer when 1000 people were offered Treatment B.

What if you had made another comparison before the one you just made?

In the study, some people were asked to make a comparison between saving the lives of otherwise-healthy people and saving the lives of people who already had paraplegia. After they made that comparison, they made the comparison you just completed. The average person in that group said it would take 126 people offered Treatment B to make the decision difficult. The differences are shown in the graph below

Why is this important?

The comparison you made is an example of a person tradeoff (PTO). The PTO is one method used to find out the utilities of different health conditions. These utilities are basically measures of the severities of the conditions. More severe conditions have a lower utility, and less severe conditions have a higher utility, on a scale of 0 to 1. Insurance companies, the government, and other organizations use these utilities as a way to decide which group to funnel money into for treatments.

On the surface, it seems like basing the money division on the severity of a condition is a good and fair method, since theoretically the people who are in the greatest need will be treated first. However, the PTO raises issues of fairness and equity that aren't accounted for in other utility elicitation methods like the time tradeoff (TTO) and rating scale (RS).

For example, when asked to decide how many people with paraplegia would have to be saved to equal saving 100 healthy people, many people say 100; that is, they think it is equally important to save the life of someone with paraplegia and a healthy person. Going by values obtained using the TTO or RS, an insurance company may conclude that 160 people with paraplegia (using a utility of .6) would have to be saved to make it equal to saving 100 healthy people. This would mean that less benefit would be gotten by saving someone with paraplegia, and thus they might not cover expenses for lifesaving treatments for people with paraplegia as much as they would for a healthy person. The PTO shows that many people would not agree with doing this, even though their own responses to other utility questions generated the policy in the first place.

For more information see:

Ubel PA, Richardson J, Baron J. Exploring the role of order effects in person trade-off elicitations. Health Policy, 61(2):189-199, 2002.

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