The blog of the 2009 – 2017 Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

Bioethics Commission Staff Presents “Pediatric Medical Countermeasure Research” at APHA in Boston

Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) Executive Director Lisa M. Lee, Ph.D, M.S., Associate Director Michelle Groman, J.D., and Commission Member Christine Grady, R.N., Ph.D will be speaking at the 141st Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Public Health Association (APHA), which takes place Nov. 2-6, in Boston, Mass. Their panel session, “Enumerating Ethical Considerations of Medical Countermeasure Research With Children,” will be moderated by Bioethics Commission Associate Director Kayte Spector-Bagdady, J.D., M.Bioethics.

The Nov. 4 session, scheduled from 4:30-6 p.m., will provide an overview of the ethical grounding of the Bioethics Commission’s review of pediatric medical countermeasure (MCM) research and describe the ethically distinct considerations of conducting such research before and after the occurrence of a terrorist attack. The Bioethics Commission released its recommendations on pediatric MCM research in its March 2013 report, Safeguarding Children: Pediatric Medical Countermeasure Research. Groman, who oversaw staff work on the report, says the APHA session will be aimed primarily at public health professionals. “In examining pediatric medical countermeasure research, the Bioethics Commission recognized both a duty to protect research participants and a duty to protect all children during an emergency, to the extent possible. We are talking about research ethics, but this is also clearly a public health ethics issue,” she said. “By engaging more people in the conversation on this topic, the Bioethics Commission is furthering its work.”

Safeguarding Children was released in response to a request from Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who asked the Bioethics Commission to study the question of anthrax vaccine trials with children after receiving a recommendation from another federal committee that such research be initiated, pending ethical review. In addition to reaching its conclusion about pediatric anthrax vaccine trials, the Bioethics Commission considered more generally the ethics of research on pediatric MCMs.


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This is a space for the members and staff of the 2009 -2017 Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to communicate with the public about the work of the commission and to discuss important issues in bioethics.

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