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Experts unite to promote ‘respectful research’

1 December 2008

Experts unite to promote ‘respectful research’

World-leading experts in Indigenous health will gather in Auckland this week to promote respectful research.

The Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) is hosting the Ninth Global Forum on Bioethics in Research (GFBR9) from 3 to 5 December 2008.

The theme of GFBR9 is Ethics of research involving Indigenous Peoples and vulnerable populations.

More than 120 invited delegates including Indigenous Peoples, members of vulnerable populations, researchers, and people who develop ethics policy will attend the forum at the Stamford Plaza Hotel.

They will discuss and explore beliefs unique to these groups and aim to develop practical measures to promote research which is more ethical.

Delegates are flying in from Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States of America, as well as New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific.

Speakers from across the world will address topics as diverse as Ethics Considerations in a Study about HIV and Syphilis in Native Communities in Peru; San Peoples of Southern Africa and Their Traditional Knowledge Relating to the Hoodia and the Tenofovir Trial in Doula, Cameroon, that was halted after being inaccurately portrayed in the media as a means to spread HIV and reduce the sex worker population.

Among the New Zealand speakers are Professor Mason Durie, Massey University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori). He will present a Māori perspective on how Indigenous world views do not always coincide with Western science and research protocols.

Other key issues will include consent, accessing and involving Indigenous and vulnerable groups for research, the formation of appropriate ethical guidelines for the involvement of Indigenous Peoples in research, intellectual property and traditional knowledge and benefit sharing.

Delegates will be welcomed to the conference by local iwi and the Forum will be formally opened by the Governor General, His Excellency The Honourable Anand Satyanand, PCNZM, QSO. They will attend dinners at the Orakei Marae and Fale Pasifika in Auckland.

HRC Chief Executive Dr Robin Olds said: “The HRC is looking forward to three days of stimulating discussion, with the expectation that all will leave with a heightened understanding of the ethical issues facing both Indigenous communities, vulnerable populations and researchers and knowledge of how these can be practically and sensitively responded to.

“I know that participants will gain by being able to share their own perspectives and learn from others.”

For a full programme of speakers log onto the website


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