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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
Abstract of "Ethics and Biomedical Engineering for the Twenty-First Century"
Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University; School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
In recent years, institutional ethics review boards (IRBs) in hospitals and universities have greatly increased the requirements for obtaining clearance to do research. The new rules, in most institutions, apply to almost any type of research, whether the work regards the use of human tissue, collecting data, or carrying out measurements on human subjects, and even for using archived data that contains no indentifying information. This means that the principal investigators, coinvestigators, and students working on a project (including some laboratory exercises or term projects that are part of courses) need to apply for a certificate prior to doing the work. This new research climate has created an urgent need for course material that covers topics such as ethical dilemmas, theories, and codes; ethical decision making; and how to assess the impact on society of new technologies they intend to develop or the impact of the research they plan to do. Exercises are assigned in a way that students learn ethical decision making, and especially how to prepare an ethics application for their planned work. Such a course has been developed at Carleton and Ottawa Universities and students who take this course become very adept at preparing an ethics application for their course or thesis work. This course also presents some knowledge about research methods and on the main existing standards and regulations concerning medical devices. This last portion of the course helps students to plan their research work and the writing of their thesis. The course Ethics, Research Methods and Standards for Biomedical Engineers is a core course that must be successfully completed prior to students graduating in the field of biomedical engineering at our two universities.
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