The COST Action IS1201 on Disaster Bioethics organizes a Training School which is held from 23 to 27 June 2014 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Target Audience and Aims of the Training School

The training school is aimed at PhD students, early stage researchers, or equivalent practitioners from disaster-related fields who wish who learn about ethical issues in disasters. Applicants MUST be resident in the specific COST and nearby countries as described in the application form (point 5). The training programme comprises lectures, seminars and group work aimed at helping those with disaster-related experience learn about bioethics or those with ethics backgrounds learn about disasters. Trainees with a range of backgrounds will be chosen to facilitate interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral discussions.


Monday June 23, 2014

Official Opening
Dr Andro Vlahušić
Physician & Mayor of Dubrovnik
From a Man with a Bible to a Woman with a Briefcase. Are we doing the right thing?
Birgitte Søgaard Lauta
Middle East Regional Representative for Danmission, a Danish Christian NGO involved in development work and humanitarian aid. She lives in Lebanon.
The presentation will provide a short analysis of the current situation inside Syria with a special focus on the Kalamoun area. During the first two years of the war, Kalamoun received thousands of refugees from bigger cities in Syria, especially Aleppo and Homs. However, in October 2013 the war spread to Kalamoun, not only leaving the original population in the line of fire with great personal damage, but also threatening the security of, and lines of support to, the internally displaced population. Based upon this example, the organizational set-up for raising funds for, and delivering aid to, internally displaced persons will be unfolded. The presentation will address the challenges and lessons learned in aid distribution.
Ethical theory for disasters
Dónal O'Mathúna, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Dublin City University, Ireland
Chair, COST Action IS1201: Disaster Bioethics
This presentation will give an overview of some of the main ethical issues in disasters. The main ethical theories and principles used in bioethics will be discussed and their role in disaster bioethics explored. This will lead to a discussion of public health ethics and how it relates to and is distinct from clinical ethics. The critique of ethical theory as overly ideal will be discussed and the principles of what is called non-ideal moral theory presented.
History of Medicine
Walking tour of Old Dubrovnik
Ana Borovečki, PhD
University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia

Tuesday June 24, 2014

Treating Gender During Disaster Situations: Intended and Unintended Consequences
Ayesha Ahmad, PhD
Tutor, University College London, UK
Although gender is recognized as important ground to cover during all areas of disaster management and analysis, issues pertaining to gender are, typically, pivoted as consequences. In this session, this notion is challenged by restructuring gender as a causal factor in mitigating the effects of a disaster. Conceptualizing gender in this way is also important for understanding the backdrop of a disaster to be shaped by gender roles. Disasters present unique challenges for bringing both individuals and society under the spotlight. For the humanitarian worker, there is the requirement for an instant familiarity with these social processes that govern essential determinants of health, especially with relation to risk and harm. For example, guidelines for humanitarian workers on gender and disaster situations are typically structured around harm reduction procedures to mitigate the risks to a particular gender: violence against women is a fundamental concern. Through an analysis of a set of case studies, this session will engage in a two-part debate; first, exploring some of the conceptual background for why gender is a neglected aspect of disaster management, and second, what factors need to be taken into account when developing action guidance.
Disasters, global humanitarian assistance and ethical challenges
Johan von Schreeb, MD, PhD
General Surgeon and Associate Professor of International Disaster Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
Introduction to disaster medicine and its ethical dilemmas. This will include a discussion of triage and how it is put into practice in the field. A method of using case studies for disaster dilemmas will be presented.
Workshop 1. Research Ethics for Disasters
Dónal O'Mathúna, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Dublin City University, Ireland
An interactive workshop-style session to discuss research ethics in the context of disasters. Trainees developing research projects should be prepared to discuss the ethical issues in their research and how they will be addressed.
Workshop 2. Medical ethics in disasters
Johan von Schreeb, MD, PhD
General Surgeon and Associate Professor of International Disaster Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
An interactive workshop-style session to engage with case studies related to medical ethics in disasters. Trainees whose projects or publications relate to healthcare provision in disasters should be prepared to discuss these issues. Those with disaster relief backgrounds may be asked to share their experiences.

Wednesday June 25, 2014

Successful Writing for Publication and Publication Ethics
Virginia Barbour, MD
Medicine Editorial Director PLOS and Chair, Committee on Publication Ethics
This remote presentation will examine the keys to getting published from the editor of a high-impact, open access journal. It will also examine the key ethical issues in contemporary publishing.
Workshop 3. Public Health Emergencies & Ethics
Iskra A. Nola, PhD
Andrija Stampar School of Public Health, Croatia
An interactive workshop-style session to discuss the ethics of public health emergencies and how this relates to the trainee projects.
Workshop 4. Disaster Law & Justice
Kristian Lauta, PhD
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
An interactive workshop-style session to discuss disaster law and how this relates to the trainee projects.
Workshop 5. Disaster Ethics Guidelines & Their Development
Dónal O'Mathúna, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Dublin City University, Ireland
An interactive workshop-style session to discuss prominent disaster ethics guidelines and how these relate to the trainee projects.

Thursday June 26, 2014

The Challenge of Goodness: Humanitarian Aid During War
Prof Dr Slobodan Lang, Croatian National Institute of Public Health
Based on the experiences of the 1991-1995 war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, this presentation will develop a number of proposals regarding health, humanitarian work, and human rights.
Project Development Time
Trainees will have time to develop their proposals with input from the trainers. Trainees should complete their presentations to be given on Friday describing their projects.
Living in Emergency
Viewing of the documentary, followed by group discussion about the ethical issues revealed.

Friday June 27, 2014

Preparing and Developing Ethical Disaster-Related Research
Dr Zdenko Franić
Institute for Medical Research, Zagreb, Croatia
This presentation will present general principles for developing disaster research projects that will enhance their chances of being successful. The challenges of disaster research will be discussed in terms of ethical guidelines, methodological rigour and funding will be discussed. 
Presentations of trainee projects


The School takes place at the Inter University Center ( in Dubrovnik which will provide a certificate of completion.

Funding and Application

The Action funds a maximum of 18 trainees chosen on the basis of relevant experience and future goals in this field. Funding details can be found in the application form (download here) which should be submitted with supporting documents as directed in the form.
COST regulations require that funded trainees come from a wide spread of countries. Each trainee will develop a disaster bioethics proposal for a research project or a publication during the School and present this to everyone on the last day.
The application deadline is May 9 at 17.00 CET.

Contact and Further Questions

Please contact Donal O'Mathuna (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with any questions about the application process or Ana Borovecki (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with questions about local facilities in Dubrovnik.