, Volume 171, Issue 1, pp 112–119

Curricular approaches to research ethics training for psychiatric investigators


DOI: 10.1007/s00213-003-1500-4

Cite this article as:
Chen, D.T. Psychopharmacology (2003) 171: 112. doi:10.1007/s00213-003-1500-4



Training in research ethics is crucial for psychiatric investigators. Addressing ethical dimensions of human subjects research requires knowledge about the rules and norms governing research; sensitivity to ethical implications of actions; and skills in ethics problem solving. Investigators in training who are physicians have the additional challenge of developing identities as investigators that sometimes conflict with their identities as physicians.


To propose a curriculum for psychiatric research ethics training.


Review of literature on ethics education and presentation of a curricular approach to research ethics training for psychiatric investigators.


Research ethics can be learned and should be taught. Involvement of active investigators in teaching research ethics is important. While core topics of psychiatric research ethics training have not yet been identified, there are available models from which to draw. Research ethics should be introduced early and integrated throughout the research training period. Lack of resources and institutional support can be obstacles to development of comprehensive research ethics curricula. Small-group, case-based discussion is best for teaching ethics problem-solving skills. Examples of teaching module ideas and a fully developed sample teaching module are presented.


There is opportunity for creative models for teaching psychiatric research ethics. Work is needed to identify core topics, target pedagogical strategies to trainees at different levels, and develop evaluation methods.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Bioethics, National Institute of Mental Health, Warren G. Magnuson Clinical CenterNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Health Evaluation Sciences, Psychiatric Medicine, and Biomedical EthicsUniversity of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesvilleUSA

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