University of Minnesota to host webinar – Is COVID-19 changing research ethics?


Nation’s experts will debate how to conduct fast research, save lives, and advance equity

On Wednesday, March 3, the University of Minnesota will host top national experts to debate how COVID-19 is changing the rules and conduct for research. This webinar on “Conducting Research in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Ethics in an Emergency” will tackle huge issues, including:

How can research successfully include the Black, Indigenous, and other vulnerable populations who are being hit so hard by the pandemic? What steps will make research genuinely responsive to the needs of those communities?

How can health professionals simultaneously collect data ethically, try to save each patient’s life, and allocate scarce medications? Most currently available treatments are not FDA-approved, and instead are available under Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs). Collecting data is essential, but so are saving lives and allocating medications ethically.

Should we always use randomized clinical trials (RCTs) to determine the safety and efficacy of proposed treatments? RCTs may be too slow in a pandemic. And do trials always need to be placebo-controlled?

How can vaccine research, including pediatric vaccine research and challenge trials, be conducted ethically?

Speakers and moderators include:

Christine Grady, MSN, PhD, Chief, Department of Bioethics; Head, Section on Human Subjects Research, NIH Clinical Center;

Stephen B. Thomas, PhD, Professor of Health Policy & Management, University of Maryland; Director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity; and Principal Investigator (with Dr. Sandra Quinn) for the NIH-NIMHD Center of Excellence in Race, Ethnicity & Health Disparities Research;

Abigail Echo-Hawk, MA, Director, Urban Indian Health Institute; Chief Research Officer, Seattle Indian Health Board;

Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, Regents Professor; McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health; Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP), University of Minnesota;

Derek C. Angus, MD, MPH, FRCP, Chief Healthcare Innovation Officer, Distinguished Professor and Mitchell P. Fink Endowed Chair, Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Health System; Section Editor, Caring for the Critically Ill, JAMA;

Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD, Alfred & Jill Sommer Professor and Chair, Molecular Microbiology & Immunology; Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health;

Jason V. Baker, MD, MS, FIDSA, Chief, Infectious Diseases, Hennepin Healthcare; Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine & Institute for Molecular Virology, University of Minnesota;

Susan M. Wolf, JD, McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine & Public Policy; Faegre Baker Daniels Professor of Law; Professor of Medicine; Chair, Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences, University of Minnesota; co-lead, Minnesota COVID Ethics Collaborative (MCEC).

“These are vital conversations that will help chart a path forward for policy makers, researchers, ethicists, and anyone interested in how to address the biggest health challenge of our time,” said Vice President for Research Christopher Cramer.

“The pandemic is a global emergency. How do we collect data on vaccines and treatments ASAP, while saving human lives, allocating scarce medications ethically, and – crucially – addressing the gigantic health disparities emerging? Any one of these is a challenge. We need to do all of them and under enormous pressure,” said Consortium chair Susan M. Wolf.


The full Agenda, link to register, and more information is at: The webinar is part of the University of Minnesota’s Research Ethics Week (March 1-5, 2021), when University colleges and departments focus on how to ensure research safety and integrity.

The event is presented by the Office of the Vice President for Research; Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences; Masonic Cancer Center; and Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of Minnesota.

Media Contact
Matt Tveter
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