The development and assessment of an NIH-funded research ethics training program

James M. DuBois, Jeffrey M. Dueker, Emily E. Anderson, Jean Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In an effort to increase the number of researchers with skills "in identifying and addressing the ethical, legal, and social implications of their research," the National Institutes of Health (NIH) solicited training grant proposals from 1999 to 2004 and subsequently funded approved programs. The authors describe the content, format, and outcomes of one such training program that ran from 2002 to 2006 and share key lessons learned about program formats and assessment methods.Jointly developed by the Saint Louis University Center for Health Care Ethics and the Missouri Institute of Mental Health Continuing Education department, the training program focused on mental health research and adopted a train-the-trainer model. It was offered in on-site and distance-learning formats. Key outcomes of the program included educational products (such as 70 case studies posted on the course Web site, a textbook, and an instructional DVD) and program completion by 40 trainees. Assessment involved pre- and posttesting focused on knowledge of research ethics, ethical problem-solving skills, and levels of confidence in addressing ethical issues in mental health research. The program succeeded in increasing participants' knowledge of ethical issues and their beliefs that they could identify issues, identify problem-solving resources, and solve ethical problems. However, scores on the case-based problem-solving assessment dropped in posttesting, apparently because of diminished confidence about the right course of action in the specific dilemma presented; the implications of this finding for ethics assessment are discussed. Overall satisfaction was high, and dropout rates were low but three times higher for distance-learners than for on-site participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-603
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


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