The Research Ethics Program serves as a resource for the campus community to identify and address ethical challenges intrinsic to the conduct of science, engineering, and other academic scholarship.

Case of the Month

From 1993-1995 the effectiveness of differing levels of lead abatement were assessed by the Krieger Institute in children living in low income housing in Baltimore, Maryland. The Krieger Institute was sued because the research called for not using interventions known to be effective, although more expensive. This study contrasts the goal of helping the community with risks to the participants in the research.

  1. This case was seen by some to be similar to the exploitation of African men with syphilis in Tuskegee.  Is such a lead abatement study an exploitation of low income urban families, or is it a justifiable attempt to find better ways to serve those communities?
  2. What are the risks to research if researchers must first address all community concerns before beginning a community based research study?
  3. What are the researchers’ responsibilities to inform, educate, and address the concerns of the community?

Adapted from material in: Mastroianni AC and Kahn JP (2002): Risk and Responsibility: Ethics, Grimes V Kennedy Krieger and Public Health Research Involving Children, Am J Public Health 92(7):1073–1076.

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