Research Article: Grand Challenges in Global Health: Ethical, Social, and Cultural Issues Based on Key Informant Perspectives

Date Published: September 11, 2007

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Kathryn Berndtson, Tina Daid, C. Shawn Tracy, Anant Bhan, Emma R. M Cohen, Ross E. G Upshur, Jerome A Singh, Abdallah S Daar, James V Lavery, Peter A Singer

Abstract: The authors interviewed key informants from the developing world and the Grand Challenges investigators to explore their ethical, social, and cultural concerns about the program.

Partial Text: In 2005, we launched the Ethical, Social and Cultural (ESC) Program for the Grand Challenges in Global Health (GCGH) initiative, as described in the first article in this series [1]. To identify key ESC issues, we conducted group discussions with investigators and program officers from the GCGH projects, as well as interviews with developing world experts. Our approach is shown in Box 1.

As discussed in the first paper of this series [1], the Human Genome Project set a standard for addressing ESC issues in large-scale science projects. Subsequent large-scale projects—such as the International HapMap Project [2] and National Nanotechnology Initiative [3]—contain ESC programs. Certain ESC issues surface across all three projects: community engagement, public engagement, benefit sharing, economic impacts of technologies, cultural issues, and accessibility.

The developing world experts identified thirteen issues, discussed below and illustrated with direct quotations.

We recognize that this study reflects only a small sample of highly educated developing world informants. However, as leaders and experts in their fields, their understanding of these issues brings experience and perspective that adds tremendous value to our research. Additionally, we recognize the limitations of group discussions as a methodology which may not permit all participants to cover all relevant issues comprehensively.



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