"The Ethics Police?" on Thursday's Access Utah
Research on human beings saves countless lives, but has at times harmed the participants. To what degree then should government regulate science, and how? The horrors of Nazi concentration camp experiments and the egregious Tuskegee syphilis study led the US government, in 1974, to establish Research Ethics Committees, known as Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) to oversee research on humans. The US now has over 4,000 IRBs, which examine yearly tens of billions of dollars of research -- all studies on people involving diseases, from cancer to autism, and behavior. Yet ethical violations persist.
Robert L. Klitzman, M.D., is a Professor of Psychiatry in the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Joseph Mailman School of Public Health, and the Director of the Masters of Bioethics Program at Columbia University. He has authored or co-authored over 100 articles and seven books, including Am I My Genes?; When Doctors Become Patients; Mortal Secrets (with Ronald Bayer); Being Positive; A Year-long Night; The Trembling Mountain; and In a House of Dreams and Glass. His work has appeared in JAMA, Science, and elsewhere, and he has also written for the New York Times, Newsweek, The Nation, and other publications.