Ethics Research

Ethics Research: Vital to Successful Advocacy and Intervention

GAPPS is committed to the highest ethical standards in the U.S. and around the world. Despite the substantial global burden of preterm and stillbirth, little attention has been paid to ethical considerations related to research and interventions in low- and middle-income countries.

The ethical dilemmas mothers face during pregnancy and in caring for preterm babies are not well understood, and they directly influence whether or not interventions will succeed. Our ability to increase global awareness around adverse birth outcomes is also greatly affected by issues like moral and cultural attitudes about stillbirth.

GAPPS is building relationships around the world to help identify and address ethical issues surrounding preterm birth and stillbirth. Our current research efforts are focused in three areas:

  1. Basic Science: Ethical issues stemming from research into the causes of prematurity and related to harmonization efforts, such as establishing shared standards for community engagement and informed consent in sample collection across repositories.
  2. Developing Countries: Ethical and cross-cultural issues regarding pregnancy, childbirth and women’s reproductive choices, and how these relate to preterm birth and stillbirth. We have gathered preliminary data in Zambia and Uganda and are developing related studies.
  3. Intervention Programs: How can they be developed to address health disparities, preterm-related morbidity, women’s reproductive choices and access to healthcare?

GAPPS History: EthicsGAPPS convened the “Ethics and Social Justice Workgroup” at the 2009 International Conference on Prematurity and Stillbirth in Seattle. In coordination with conference scientists, this team identified the top ethical considerations facing investigators, policymakers and funders, as well as the women, children and families who shoulder the burden of preterm and stillbirth worldwide. With a special focus on developing countries, GAPPS continues to facilitate the independent and collaborative work needed to address critical research and policy questions identified at the conference and outlined in GAPPS Global Report on Preterm Birth and Stillbirth.



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