Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedAlfred Hospital Second semester 2012 (Day)
Alfred Hospital Second semester 2012 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Liz Bishop


Builds awareness of key bioethical issues in research and in international collaborative health research. The history of rules guiding research and essential components of ethical review process. Geopolitical purposes, 10/90 disequilibrium, relationship between research parties including host and sponsor countries, multilateral organisations and pharmaceutical companies, trial design and community / potential participants, informed consent, placebo controlled trials, justice issues including benefit access and capacity building. Different international and national guidelines reviewed.


On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the key ethical issues in research;
  2. show familiarity with the historical development of ethical review of medical research in its geopolitical context;
  3. show familiarity with current international and national guidelines for medical research;
  4. identify the substantive issues and controversies that arise when medical research sponsored by an industrialised country is conducted in a developing country;
  5. demonstrate an understanding of the complexities that arise when research is conducted in resource poor settings or in settings where civil rights are compromised and in environments without functioning ethical review mechanisms;
  6. demonstrate some insights into why so little of the research conducted in resource poor settings is relevant to the needs of those populations and why little benefit accrues to those populations subsequent to research;
  1. formulate some recommendations concerning potential responses to the issues raised during the unit.


Written assignments (60%)
contribution to online discussion forum (40%)

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Liz Bishop

Off-campus attendance requirements

Reading as required and contribution to weekly online discussion forum

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: