Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine


Associate Professor Bebe Loff


Alfred Hospital

  • Second semester 2016 (On-campus block of classes)


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 bioethical issues and compare and contrast their treatment in international research.
  2. Evaluate the impact of cultural, economic and political context on the ways is which ethical dilemmas are shaped.
  3. Debate the impact of the historical development of medical research in its geopolitical context.
  4. Critically evaluate current international and national guidelines for medical research.
  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.
  6. Participate and communicate effectively within a group to evaluate and apply interrelated concepts of ethical issues.


Group presentation (10%)
Individual reflection on group work and readings (1,500 words) (30%)
Major paper (4,000 words) (60%) (Hurdle)

Workload requirements

40 hours over 4 block days + required reading 9 hours per week over 12 weeks.

See also Unit timetable information

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: