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

Bioethics Commission Staff Presents “Pediatric Medical Countermeasure Research” at PRIM&R Advancing Ethical Research Conference in Boston

Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) Executive Director Lisa M. Lee, Ph.D, M.S., and Associate Director Michelle Groman, J.D., will be speaking at PRIM&R’s (Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research) 2013 Advancing Ethical Research Conference, which takes place Nov. 7-9 in Boston, Mass. Their session, “Pediatric Medical Countermeasure (MCM) Research: Enumerating Ethical Considerations to Aid with Policy Decisions,” will be moderated by Jeremy Sugarman, M.D., M.P.H, M.A., of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University.

The Nov. 7 session, scheduled from 10:30-11:45 a.m., will outline the ethical principles that guided the Bioethics Commission’s deliberations on pediatric MCM research and review the recommendations made in the Bioethics Commission’s March 2013 report, Safeguarding Children: Pediatric Medical Countermeasure Research. The session will be aimed primarily at human subjects research professionals who face ethical issues in a practical way, according to Groman. “It is important that those who confront research ethics issues daily are part of this conversation about pediatric medical countermeasure research,” she said.

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. “Pediatric MCM research is a particularly challenging case study that forces us to look more closely at current pediatric research regulations, and the ethics behind the policy,” Groman said.

In addition to communicating the Bioethics Commission’s process of deliberation in work towards Safeguarding Children and summarizing the report’s key conclusions, Groman hopes the session will demonstrate how the Bioethics Commission can offer a unique perspective on how advisory bodies might aid in making difficult policy decisions. “The Bioethics Commission brings together many individuals with diverse expertise, not only through its members but also through the many stakeholders who speak at Bioethics Commission meetings or submit written comments,” she said. “Open discussions help develop informed policy. That is certainly what happened with Safeguarding Children.

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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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