Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 445–472

Informed Consent in Cross-cultural Perspective: Clinical Research in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, PRC

  • Vincanne Adams
  • Suellen Miller
  • Sienna Craig
  • Sonam
  • Nyima
  • Droyoung
  • Phuoc V. Le
  • Micheal Varner
Original Paper


Procedures of Informed Consent are considered a high priority for international biomedical research. However, informed consent protocols are not necessarily transferable across cultural, national or ethnic groups. Recent debates identify the need for balancing ethical universals with practical and local conditions and paying attention to questions of cultural competence when it comes to the Informed Consent process for clinical biomedical research. This article reports on the results of a two-year effort to establish a culturally appropriate Informed Consent process for biomedical research in the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China. A team of Tibetan and American researchers, physicians, health professionals and medical anthropologists conducted the research. The Informed Consent was specifically for undertaking a triple-blind, double placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial of a Tibetan medicine compared with Misoprostol for reducing postpartum blood loss. The findings suggest greater need for flexibility and cooperation in establishing Informed Consent protocols across cultures and nations.


Informed consent Cultural competence Tibet Clinical trials protocols 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincanne Adams
    • 1
  • Suellen Miller
    • 2
  • Sienna Craig
    • 3
  • Sonam
    • 4
  • Nyima
    • 5
  • Droyoung
    • 6
  • Phuoc V. Le
    • 7
    • 8
  • Micheal Varner
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyHistory and Social Medicine, University of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Safe Motherhood Programs, Department of ObstetricsGynecology and Reproductive Sciences University of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyDartmouth UniversityHanoverUSA
  4. 4.Women’s Division, Mentsikhang Traditional Tibetan Medicine and Astrology HospitalLhasa, TARP.R. China
  5. 5.Women’s Division, Lhasa Municipal HospitalLhasa, TARP.R. China
  6. 6.Women’s Division, Lhasa Maternity Child Health HospitalLhasa, TARP.R. China
  7. 7.Harvard Associated Residency in Internal MedicineBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  8. 8.Pediatrics Global Health Equity ResidencyBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  9. 9.Maternal Fetal MedicineUniversity of Utah School of MedicineSalt Lake CityUSA

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