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Am J Public Health. 2005 Jul;95(7):1123-7. Epub 2005 Jun 16.

Ethical goals of community consultation in research.

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Phoebe R. Berman Bioethics Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Hampton House 351, 624 N Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


In response to the traditional emphasis on the rights, interests, and well-being of individual research subjects, there has been growing attention focused on the importance of involving communities in research development and approval. Community consultation is a particularly common method of involving communities. However, the fundamental ethical goals of community consultation have not been delineated, which makes it difficult for investigators, sponsors, and institutional review boards to design and evaluate consultation efforts. Community consultation must be tailored to the communities in which it is conducted, but the purposes of consultation-the ethical goals it is designed to achieve-should be universal. We propose 4 ethical goals that give investigators, sponsors, institutional review boards, and communities a framework for evaluating community consultation processes.

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