ACTSI & Winship Cancer Institute Offers Collaborative Research Ethics Consultation Service

The Clinical Research Ethics Consultation Collaborative, a continuation of the Clinical Research Ethics Key Function Committee Consultation Working Group of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) consortium, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, launched its first clinical  research ethics service nationwide, including the Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute’s (ACTSI) Ethics & Regulatory program. The ACTSI is a city-wide partnership between Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), and Georgia Institute of Technology and is one of a national consortium striving to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. The consortium, funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, by the NIH CTSA, shares a common vision to translate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts, and train the next generation of clinical investigators. The CTSA-collaborative plans to go CTSA-wide this month.

The consultancy features Ethics & Regulatory leader Rebecca Pentz, PhD, professor of Research Ethics, Emory School of Medicine, as an available expert. She currently performs empirical ethics research on topics most pertinent to the Winship Cancer Institute, namely early drug development, with emphases on informed consent, biobanking, return of results, and genetic testing. “The NIH Bioethics Consultation Service is a very exciting opportunity to run difficult cases by some of the best in the field. Research ethical dilemmas, such as those featured in the ACTSI Ethical Dilemmas in Scientific Research and Professional Integrity, and the ones used in the October issue of Nature are examples of what we will address,” said Pentz.

This collaborative research ethics service will handle referrals from any Emory, MSM, or Georgia Tech faculty/staff/student. The referral itself must come from the research ethics consultant, who will decide to either handle the case or ask for the expert national group to weigh-in. The service acts as an advisor, only trying to support the local ethicist and researcher. Pentz and John Banja, PhD, professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Medical Ethicist, Center for Ethics, Emory University, will serve as the research ethics consultants.

If you have a research ethics question or are pondering a research ethics dilemma, confidential discussions and non-binding advice are available. Call or email Banja at 404-712-4804/jbanja@emory.edu or call/text/email Pentz at 404-831-1758/rpentz@emory.edu.