Both the Certificate and Diploma programs consist of three course each: two online courses (10 weeks each) and one intensive on-site seminar course (1 week each). All courses are taught in English or Spanish by Caribbean and American faculty.
Onsite courses are held at St. George's University (English-language) or the Autonomous University of Queretaro (Spanish-language). Except for these short on-site seminars, the Caribbean Research Ethics Education Initiative online design permits students to complete both the Certificate and Diploma programs without leaving their homes or jobs.
The total length of the Caribbean Research Ethics Education Initiative is approximately 12 months.
Students who successfully complete the Diploma program are also eligible to apply for scholarships to obtain an accelerated Masters of Science in Bioethics from the Bioethics Program of Clarkson and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York). Six additional online and on-site courses are required to obtain the Masters. All costs associated with the courses required to obtain the Masters of Science in Bioethics, including application fee, tuition, books and associated materials, and travel and accommodation for on-site courses will be covered by the grant.
Proseminar in Biomedical Ethics (1 week, on-site, May [English] or June [Spanish])
Designed to orient trainees, to serve as a springboard for the Caribbean Research Ethics Education Initiative, and to introduce trainees to the subsequent online courses and the faculty that teach them. Fellows will be sent reading materials in advance of the seminar and will be intensively immersed in discussions of biomedical ethics, methodology and history, as well as the responsible conduct of research. Through a series of workshops and interactive assignments they will be taught to use the research tools in bioethics and the history of medical ethics (especially online research portals), and methods of bioethics case analysis and case presentation. Students will review and analyze classic cases in bioethics and cases that have recently arisen in the Caribbean both to familiarize themselves with bioethics terminology, and methods of case analysis. Students will also work collaboratively to map current policies regarding research ethics in the Caribbean, identifying gaps and recommending policy solutions. Finally, they will be instructed in using the Moodle-based course platform and Clarkson-based Internet resources, and will be required to use them throughout the seminar.
Responsible Conduct of Research (online, 10 weeks, Spring [English] or Summer [Spanish])
This course provides trainees with an introduction to the ethics of scientific research, starting with a discussion of responsible conduct of research (commonly referred to by the acronym RCR). As close to ninety percent of the work that research ethicists do focuses on the education, promotion and adjudication of RCR issues, and because these issues are applicable to all aspects of the research endeavor and all fields of scientific study, understanding these issues and being able to apply the basic principles to critically analyze cases is an essential starting point for anyone interested in research ethics. Upon completion of the course, the trainee should be able to: (a) discuss in depth the principles of research ethics; (b) explain how these principles should be applied to the ethical design and conduct of research; (c) identify, define, and analyze ethical issues in the context of novel and potentially problematic areas of scientific research; and (d) identify, through case studies, ethical issues that arise in different contexts and begin to reason through an appropriate course of action. In addition, trainees will be introduced to some of the basic principles that guide the ethical conduct of two special types of research studies: studies involving animal subjects and studies enrolling human volunteers.
Human Subjects Research (online, 10 weeks, Summer [English] or Fall [Spanish])
This course builds upon some of the themes that were first introduced in Responsible Conduct of Research and provides trainees with additional experience in the design, conduct and oversight of trials involving human participants. In addition, trainees will examine key policies, laws and regulations that guide the design, conduct and review of biomedical research using human volunteers. Finally, they will apply this knowledge and these practical skills to specific areas or types of biomedical research that are considered controversial or ethically problematic. Upon completion of the course, trainees should be able to: (a) discuss in depth the principles of bioethics and how these principles should be applied for the ethical design and conduct of research involving human participants; (b) identify, define, and analyze ethical issues in the context of novel and potentially problematic areas of biomedical research; and (c) identify, through case studies, ethical issues that arise in different contexts and begin to reason through an appropriate course of action.
Note: Students must successfully complete the Certificate before starting Diploma.
Bioethics Policy and Pedagogy (online, 10 weeks, Fall [English] or Winter [Spanish])
The purpose of this course is to provide students with basic skills in bioethics policy making and pedagogy. This first half of this course provides trainees with an understanding of the public policy making process and the political and regulatory environment in which researchers and research ethics committees function. It also provides an understanding of managerial processes, politics, and structure of the organizations where research and research ethics policies and practices are implemented and carried out on an ongoing basis. The second half of the course is designed to give trainees practical experience in teaching bioethics and research ethics to adult learners, covering such topics as theories of active learning, knowledge taxonomies, course planning and development, assessment and grading, and observation and feedback.
Online Practicum and Project (online, 10 weeks, Winter [English] or Spring [Spanish])
During this course, trainees will carry out individual projects in their home countries and institutions, building off the knowledge and skills learned in Bioethics Policy and Pedagogy. Working one-on-one with a faculty supervisor, trainees can choose from a variety of potential projects, including: 1) developing and teaching short courses on research ethics; 2) writing and implementing policies for research ethics committees; and 3) influencing the public policy agenda of governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations.
Capstone (on-site, 1 week, May [English] or June [Spanish])
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the practical skills necessary for functioning as policymakers and research ethics educators in their home countries, and in promoting institutional change. The knowledge and skill base necessary to do this includes: teaching methods (on-site and online), research methods, group dynamics, quality improvement, project management, grant writing, and media relations. In addition, trainees will need a basic understanding of the public policy making process and the organizational dynamics of various institutional settings. Experiential learning will be emphasized through workshops, simulations, and case study exercises.