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University of Toronto-led ethics network to help guide Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative

How do you adequately consult and collaborate with a community in rural Africa for a study of HIV/AIDS or malaria?

What are the cultural barriers in these settings to introducing an intra-vaginal vaccine to stop the spread of sexually transmitted disease?

These and other ethical, social and cultural questions will be identified and addressed by a team of experts from the University of Toronto engaged to help guide the work of a major global health initiative supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Under a five-year, US $10-million grant, the U of T team will collaborate with other experts in developing countries to identify and devise ways to address potential ethical, social and cultural (ESC) issues raised in the course of conducting projects under the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative.

Launched in 2003, the Grand Challenges initiative is a major effort to achieve scientific breakthroughs against diseases that kill millions of people each year in the world's poorest countries. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to create "deliverable technologies" health tools that are not only effective, but also inexpensive to produce, easy to distribute, and simple to use in developing countries. In 2005, the initiative announced grants totaling more than $436 million to support 43 groundbreaking research projects.

"The inequities in global health are arguably the greatest ethical challenge of our time. Our key goal in this project is to focus on the ethical, social, and cultural factors that influence whether a new technology is adopted by communities in need. Just as the Grand Challenges initiative aims to apply enormous energy and resources to solve key scientific challenges in global health, we aim to find innovative and constructive approaches to the ethical, social and cultural issue
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
University of Toronto Joint Center for Bioethics
18-Jan-2006


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