Document Type


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Public Health Program


Background: In Bolivia, there is increasing interest in the necessity of incorporating research ethics into study designs and procedures, but there is minimal data on the perceptions and experiences of Bolivian health science faculty, researchers, and national health administrators on research ethics. The Touro University California (TUC) Public Health Program is partnering with Bolivian universities to develop a comprehensive Research Education Ethics Program. In 2013, The Universidad Mayor de San Andrés received a National Institute of Health/Fogarty International Center Planning Grant award to develop the program. The two central aims of this program needs assessment are to describe the perceptions of and experiences with research ethics among study participants and to assess the relationship between participants’ professional roles and their perceptions and knowledge of research ethics. Participants’ perceptions of the functions of Research Ethics Committees (protecting human subjects rights, ensuring the social and scientific value of research, etc) and study participants’ ideas for educational/learning needs were also described. The study has been implemented, data collection completed, and data analysis in process. Preliminary results show an immediate need and interest for research ethics capacity building and education in Bolivia.

Structure/Method/Design: This is a cross-sectional study using an online survey completed by approximately 200 Bolivian health science faculty, researchers, residents, and health administrators. Survey domains include demographics, perceptions and experiences related to research ethics and the function of research ethics committees, and knowledge of research ethics including course levels, content, and teaching methodologies. Descriptive statistics were used to describe study participant characteristics and the key variables referred to above. Chi-square tests will be used to assess the relationships between participant characteristics and perception and knowledge indicators measured quantitatively using scales.

Results (Scientific Abstract)/Collaborative Partners (Programmatic Abstract): Universidad Mayor de San Andres Universidad Mayor de San Francisco Xavier Universidad Mayor de San Simón

Summary/Conclusion: Challenges identified include insufficient knowledge, academic support, expertise, regulation, and funding. Study findings describe the current research ethics needs and practices in Bolivia and facilitate the development of a sustainable research ethics education program.

Publisher's Statement

Originally published in Annals of Global Health, 80(3), 179-180. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. doi:10.1016/j.aogh.2014.08.061



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