WORD FROM THE ACADEMIES: A PRIMER FOR LEGAL POLICY ANALYSIS REGARDING ADOLESCENT RESEARCH PARTICIPATION

Author: 

Rhonda Gay Hartman

Few voices regarding scientific research are as eminent as the National Academies.1 When the Academies speak, Congress and the White House not only listen but also act. As federal legislation and executive orders exemplify, the Academies’ reports about challenges at the biomedical science-society interface inform public policies and influence laws. Foremost at this interface are the challenges of human subject experimentation that have not atrophied over time. These challenges are rooted in society’s deep conflict between advancing knowledge by using persons for bio-scientific research while preserving human rights and dignity. Although ‘therapeutic’ biomedical research (i.e., research conducted with a prospect of direct benefit to the participants) continues to merit scrutiny, ‘non-therapeutic’ research (i.e., research conducted for knowledge acquisition without the prospect of direct benefit) compels it, particularly when the participants constitute a vulnerable cohort with diminished decisional capacity for research involvement such as children, the elderly, and the mentally infirm. View More