Ethics in the time of COVID: an Interactive Discussion


Neuroethics – a growing field that studies the ethical, legal, and societal implications of neuroscience – is an essential partner to neuroscience. It can serve to anticipate and address ethical questions raised in and by research, and flourishes with active collaboration and integration with neuroscience.

The current COVID-19 pandemic provides a contemporary case study for discussing this neuroethics-neuroscience partnership. It raises important ethical questions for the healthcare system and its providers, and these questions are especially relevant for patients with brain diseases/disorders. It also has extensive implications for existing neuroscience research, such as delaying certain research studies, affecting the ability to recruit and work with trial participants, and, in some cases, suggesting a need to shift research focus to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the nervous system.

In this session, Drs. Christine Grady and Scott Kim, members of the Department of Bioethics at the NIH Clinical Center, will first give a short presentation on ethics in the time of COVID-19, as described in a recent Neurology commentary. Representatives from small-group discussions will provide summary reports regarding attendee thoughts on ethical considerations in the time of COVID-19.

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