Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine
OfferedAlfred Hospital Second semester 2015 (Day)
Alfred Hospital Second semester 2015 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Bebe Loff


This unit examines the colonial history of and contemporary ethical issues that pervade international health. It builds awareness of critical ethical issues in international health and research. A range of topics are considered including the geopolitical purposes served by international health research, the 10/90 disequilibrium, the relationship between research parties including host and sponsor countries, multilateral organisations, pharmaceutical companies, communites and research participants. The rules guiding research and essential components of ethical review process are examined. Issues of justice emerge as critical in this context.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Identify key contemporary bioethical debates in international health projects and research;
  2. Describe the impact of cultural, economic and political context on the ways is which ethical dilemmas are shaped;
  3. Describe the historical development of medical research in its geopolitical context;
  4. Critically apply current international and national guidelines for medical research; and
  5. Identify and analyse the substantive issues and controversies that arise when medical research sponsored by an industrialised country is conducted in a developing country.


Written assignment (4,000 words) (60%) (Hurdle)
Short essay (1,500 words) (30%)
Online participation (10%)

Chief examiner(s)

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: