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Public Health Ethics


The analysis presented here lays out the ethical warrants for requiring community oversight of health research conducted in international settings. It reviews the inadequacies with the current standards of individual informed consent and research ethics committee review, and then, shows how a broader population-based public health perspective raises new demands on justice involving due consideration of the rights, harms and benefits to the community as a whole. As developed here, an ethical standard that requires community oversight of health research is justified on three principled grounds: respect for community autonomy and their right to self determination; due consideration of the consequences of the research for the community as a whole; and, a more complete understanding of human autonomy. The paper concludes with practical recommendations regarding the composition of Community Advisory Boards to ensure that they have legitimate decision-making authority in diverse socio-cultural contexts.



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