A seminar entitled “Disaster Research Ethics: Developing Evidence Ethically” will be presented by Dr. Dónal O’Mathúna in Graves Hall 1187 on 1 March from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EST. His talk will focus on the ethical challenges with conducting research in and on disasters.

Dr. O’Mathúna is Senior Lecturer in Ethics, Decision-Making & Evidence at Dublin City University, Ireland and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at The Ohio State University. The seminar is part of a webinar series organised by the World Association for Disaster and Emergency  Medicine (WADEM) and co-hosted by the Division of Bioethics, The Ohio State University College of Medicine and the Center for Disaster & Humanitarian Ethics.

Further details on the talk and Dr. O’Mathúna’s background are available at: https://wadem.org/donal-omathuna/
To register to view the webinar live, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1795760154751947010
The webinar will be available  to view afterwards at: https://wadem.org/resources/webinar/

We are delighted to share with you the summary of the COST Association’s final assessment of our Action. The review is very positive, with COST concluding that we fully or almost fully met all objectives. This is a great achievement, which would not have been possible without the contributions of many people. Thanks to all contributors to the action.

Summary assessment of outcomes and impacts

"The final assessment of the Action’s work across its lifespan between 2012 to 2016 indicated that all of the objectives stated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) were achieved by the end of the Action. The Action had over 130 members from 28 member countries and New Zealand as well as partnerships with research teams and networks in the US, Canada, and countries impacted by disasters such as Palestine, Jordan, Kenya, Senegal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The added value of this international network, which was fueled by numerous conferences, workshops and training schools, has also arisen from opportunities for early career researchers and participants from Inclusiveness Target Countries to benefit from the Action. The collaboration between Action members, non-member researchers, practitioners and policy-makers led to the development of several international standards, guidelines and manuals with respect to disaster bioethics. Some of the training manuals were used during field training of local responders. The wide range of publications of the Action clearly indicated that there was a scholarly discussion of and interest in research in this topic. Engagement of early career researchers and building research capacity through workshops and summer schools also stimulated proposal writing, fundraising and research activities further. Given the high number of qualified Action members and partners, the international network established by the Action holds the potential to be sustainable and continue stimulating its members to develop more proposals and publications in the future. The Action has made clear progress with the deliverables stated in the MoU and all of the deliverables were delivered by the time of the final evaluation. The Action’s publications were considerable in both quantity and quality and there were a number of publications that were published in high impact journals or as publications of top international organizations in public and global health. The ethical guidelines developed by the Action will have a positive impact on how WHO, UNICEF, UNISDR and other organizations, as well as disaster responders respond to future ethical challenges in disasters. Impact on policy making and impact on a new generation of researchers in this field were among the most significant impacts of the Action. The Action’s dissemination and exploitation approach was clear and valid, where the Action targeted various audiences by using a variety of tools for dissemination of new knowledge. The evaluation of how the Action was initially structured, how the network has expanded in time and how it made impact showed that the Action’s overall management was effective. The final review of the Action’s achievements throughout its lifetime indicated that the specific COST grant was spent in an effective and fruitful manner, giving strong promise for continued and sustainable collaboration among Action members and other partners in the future."

Download PDF Version of the Summary Assessment

A new e-learning course on ‘Ethics in epidemics, emergencies and disasters: Research, surveillance and patient care’ has been developed and launched by Ethox. It is based on the WHO course on Ethics in Epidemics, Emergencies and Disasters to which many Action members contributed.

The course offers comprehensive training exploring the wide range of ethical issues faced by health professionals and policy makers working in the context of epidemics/pandemics and disaster situations, focusing primarily on the key areas of research, surveillance and patient care.

Topics of the course include

  • Boundaries between public health practice, surveillance, and research.
  • Processes for ethical review.
  • Conflicts between the common good and individual autonomy in surveillance, research and clinical trials.
  • Publication ethics.
  • Triage, resource allocation and standards of care.
  • Professional duties of health care workers during public health surveillance and research.

You can find the course on the following website:


BMC ReviewGuidelinesAnother key deliverable from the Action has been published by members of WG3 Research Ethics.
Title:  Research in disaster settings: a systematic qualitative review of ethical guidelines
Authors: Mezinska  Signe, Kakuk  Péter, Mijaljica  Goran, Waligóra  Marcin, O’Mathúna  Dónal,
Journal: BMC Medical Ethics.2016, 17:62
DOI: 10.1186/s12910-016-0148-7             

The full article is available at http://rdcu.be/lEAq It has been published under open access licence so that all readers will be able to download and print the PDF, and access the full-text HTML.


The Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) addresses new challenges of protecting humans participating in health-related research. On 6 December 2016 the text of the new CIOMS International Ethical Guidelines for Health-related Research involving Humans is web posted for the first time.

Read more and access the document at http://www.cioms.ch/index.php/12-newsflash/404-new-cioms-international-ethical-guidelines-web-posted

WHO GuidanceThe World Health Organisation (WHO) has published its “Guidance for managing ethical issues in infectious disease outbreaks”. The full document is available at: http://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/250580.

Congratulations to the many members of the COST Action IS1201 Disaster Bioethics who contributed to the development of this document, which is acknowledged in the document. This arose in part from two workshops co-organised by our Action.