Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre

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NCBio Conference: Addressing Ethical Issues in Health Care and Health Research in Small-Scale Communities

Director Simon Woods attended The Ethics of Health Care and Research in Small-Scale Communities conference organised jointly by the Nordic Committee on Bioethics (NCBio) (NordForsk) and the University of the Faroe Islands

The conference held on 11th September discussed the ethical challenges and possible solutions in small-scale communities when providing high-quality accessible health care and conducting high-quality research in these areas.

The conference was arranged around the following three questions, each were addressed in separate sessions:

1. How are clinical innovations/unproven methods developed and introduced, with examples from the western and Nordic health-care systems?
2. What is the legal and regulatory environment concerning unproven methods in medicine?
3. What ethical principles should guide work on emerging treatments and experimentation in hospitals?

Health care professionals and researchers alike experience ethical issues of patient stigmatization, privacy, and confidentiality. In small close knit communities, health care professionals and researchers alike typically know and can be related to the patients they treat and the participants they recruit respectively. In such communities issues can present themselves when patients suffer from mental illnesses, infectious diseases, or when ethnic groups and immigrants with different cultural values and perspectives are being treated and are participating in studies. Health care professionals and researchers alike receive insufficient support to address such complex ethical issues. The conference was an opportunity for health care professionals and researchers alike to come together and share their experiences, ideas, and possible solutions to ethical issues in relation to innovative treatments.

The conference was open to all interested, including medical doctors, clinical researchers, health committees in parliaments, civil servants and hospital administrators. The conference included talks from Christy Simpson, Head of Department for Bioethics, Dalhousie University in Canada discussing the key ethical challenges in providing health care in small-scale communities. Elisabet Hjorleifsdottir, Associate Professor from the Department of Nursing Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Akureyri in Iceland discussing end of life decision-making in small-scale communities. Per-Daniel Liljegren, project leader, Region Västerbotten, Sweden Anette Edin-Liljegren, Senior Lecturer, adjunct at Department of Nursing Umeå University, Sweden discussed how to address ethical health issues in SSCs in the context of Northern Sweden.

Conference Speakers at The Ethics of Health Care and Research in Small-Scale Communities (SSC) Conference

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