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Faculty Network Spotlight: Global Health Ethics

October 11, 2023
by Alyssa Cruz

“We want you to think about ethics issues now to be prepared for what may arise later.”

As part of the Yale-China Medical Board (CMB) Global Health Leadership Development Program, which is aimed at training young Chinese health professionals in global health research and practice, Dr. Tracy Rabin and Dr. Kaveh Khoshnood, co-directors of the YIGH Global Health Ethics Program and co-leads of the Global Health Ethics Network, led an interactive session about ethical considerations in global health.

The discussion revolved around successful partnerships, defining what they are, listing ingredients that make a partnership successful, and challenges that can arise while engaging in a partnership. Yang Lu, who will be working on a project in Nigeria focused on strengthening the oxygen delivery system across the country, emphasized a “need for trust and involvement of stakeholders” as necessary for a partnership. While discussing challenges, Sheng Bi, who will be doing research in Brazil about SARS-CoV-2 infections in a slum community, noted the complexity of aligning diverse interests, while Yujia Qiu, who will be doing research in Malaysia examining adverse childhood experiences, stigma, and their association with utilization of HIV services among people with HIV who inject drugs, noted administrative barriers .

Drs. Rabin and Khoshnood also addressed ethical issues related to stereotypes and historical biases, advising that researchers should seek to understand the social, cultural, and political context for their work, and develop relationships with partner institution allies who can facilitate this understanding. Dr. Khoshnood stressed that obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is not the end, but is part of a process, reminding researchers of their ultimate responsibility for ethical considerations. This discussion was part of an ongoing series of trainings, during which the Yale CMB fellows reflect on ethical aspects of their anticipated work and incorporate these considerations into their projects and as they complete their IRBs.

In reflection of this session, Yujia Qiu says “Before, I only knew abstract principles about ethics, like doing no harm, voluntary participation, and respect..., and not the practical aspect of ethics. Now I know that the history and the culture before doing research is so important to global collaboration.”

Similarly, Xiao Lin, who will be working in Peru on a project focused on developing­­­­ a health beliefs model-based Intervention to promote osteoporosis-related knowledge, self-efficacy and health beliefs among Andean women, says that she learned to “go beyond the IRB and think about the objective of the project —is it truly for the purpose of benefiting the local population?”

This training session is part of efforts offered by the Global Health Ethics Network, a multidisciplinary group of stakeholders from across the University with a focus on providing guidance on global health ethics to students and trainees in addition to serving as a resource to support global health research and clinical education. The Network has a vision and aspiration to serve as a resource for the broader Yale University community and its global partners.

If you are interested in learning more about this Network, please contact Kaveh Khoshnood,, or Tracy Rabin,, Global Health Ethics Network leads. If you are interested in exploring developing a new YIGH Faculty Network, please contact Dr. Jeremy Schwartz,, Lead of the YIGH Faculty Network Program.

Submitted by Alyssa Cruz on October 11, 2023