Ethical Challenges in Short-Term Global Health Training

Web-Based Course

Course Introduction

This course has been developed through funding by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) and is a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Stanford University Center for Innovation in Global Heatlh .

This course introduces some of the ethical issues that arise when trainees in biomedical research and practice undertake short-term training experiences abroad in resource-limited settings. Trainees, their sending and host institutions, and program sponsors recognize that these types of global health training programs raise a number of ethical issues. Not only is being able to recognize and navigate these issues itself important, but also it is critical for avoiding harm to communities and facilitating a long-term, productive collaboration for the betterment of global health (1). A Working Group on Ethics Guidelines for Global Health Training (WEIGHT) has developed best practice guidelines for this setting (2). 

Using ten cases adapted from real-world experiences, the modules in this course build on these guidelines and should help users identify and develop strategies for navigating some of the ethical issues arising in short-term global health training experiences. Names and locales have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved. For each case, additional resources and questions are provided to encourage further in-depth study and discussion for those interested. 

Intended Audience

Trainees in biomedical research and practice abroad are the primary audience for these modules. Other individuals involved in these training programs – including faculty, mentors, and advisors at sending and host institutions, as well as program sponsors – may also find them useful for introducing and engaging their trainees with the ethical issues inherent in this work.



  1. Pinto A, Upshur, R. Global Health Ethics for Students. Dev World Bioeth 2009:9(1):1-10.
  2. Working Group on Ethics Guidelines for Global Health Training (WEIGHT), Ethics and Best Practice Guidelines for Training Experiences in Global Health. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2010 83: 1178-1182.

More Information

Contact Matthew DeCamp