Ethics Support FAQs

What is a 'clinical research ethics consultation'?
Why is there a Research Ethics Consultation Service at UTMB?
What kinds of things could the UTMB Research Ethics Consultation Service help me with?
What are some specific examples of situations where the consultation service might be an appropriate place to turn to for help?
Who can ask for a research ethics consultation?
How would someone request a consultation?
Where is the UTMB Research Ethics Consultation Service located?
When can a consultation be requested?
Who are the UTMB Research Ethics Consultants?

What is a 'clinical research ethics consultation'?
A 'consultation' happens whenever one person asks someone else (the 'consultant') for help or advice. In this case, for help or advice about a question or situation that has to do with clinical research involving human subjects. If you have a doubt, concern, question or any issue at all that you think someone trained in clinical research ethics might be able to help you with, then this service is here for you.

Why is there a Research Ethics Consultation Service at UTMB?
There has been much growth in the amount of clinical research being done in recent years. Along with this growth has come increased public awareness of research being done, and the potential for serious harm to people that volunteer to be subjects in research. This has led to questions as to how much the public trusts researchers to protect human subjects.

Compliance and regulation have an essential role in protecting human subjects in research. But compliance needs to be seen within the larger context of an institution's culture in order to more fully affirm that the research community is worthy of the public's trust. The rules and regulations that command compliance fit comfortably within this larger ethical framework when a university's culture routinely pursues excellence, integrity, service to the community and moral accountability in its projects. Here science and ethics are not in conflict, but inform one another and work together to nurture strong relationships in a community of care, mutual trust, and professional accountability.

UTMB, in pursuing its mission, vision and values, is committed to nurturing these relationships and values within its research community through innovative education and service.

An important tool to help further this work is the UTMB Research Ethics Consultation Service:

Our mission is to promote integrity and strive for clarity in the midst of what can be complex and confusing ethical situations that arise in the conduct of clinical research. Our mission is also to be a strong voice of compassionate care for all people involved in the pursuit of clinical research at UTMB.

Our vision is to be a model of service and education for the research community in identifying and responding to ethical issues. Beyond compliance, we seek to deepen UTMB's commitment to the principles of Respect for Persons, Beneficence and Justice.

Our values include the pursuit of truth, excellence, respect, empathy, mutuality, responsibility, integrity and honesty within all relationships between members of the research community.

What kinds of things could the UTMB Research Ethics Consultation Service help me with?

TheRECS can

What are some specific examples of situations where the consultation service might be an appropriate place to turn to for help?
Here are just a few possible examples:

Who can ask for a research ethics consultation?
ANYONE involved with research and/or its regulation at UTMB may request consultation, including:

How would someone request a consultation?
Complete and submit a Ethics Support Request Form or call the director at (409) 772-1208. If you are on campus: 2-1208.

Where is the UTMB Research Ethics Consultation Service located?
In the UTMB Hospital - John Sealy Towers, 5th Floor - Room 5.106

When can a consultation be requested?
You can call the director at any time and leave a message with your full name and how you can be reached. Your message will be responded to between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. the following day if possible.

If you have an urgent or emergency situation you need to contact UTMB Research Services at (409) 772-3481. If you are on campus, just dial: 23481.

Who are the UTMB Research Ethics Consultants?

Michele A. Carter, Ph.D., Director, UTMB Institutional Ethics Program and CRC Research Subject Advocate (e-mail)
Howard Brody, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Institute for the Medical Humanities (e-mail)
Toni D'Agostino, B.A., M.A., Director, Office of Sponsored Programs, Office of the Associate Dean for Research Services, UTMB (e-mail)
Evelyn M. (Bernadette) McKinney, J.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor (e-mail)