Project Description

The Collaborative Initiative for Research Ethics in Environmental Health (CIREEH) is an interdisciplinary team of public health, social science, biomedical, behavioral and humanities researchers from Syracuse University and four other collaborating universities. We offer short courses that focus on ethical issues surrounding community-based research collaborations between professional researchers and communities in the fields of environmental and community health research. This interdisciplinary team provides unique experience in dealing with research ethics concerns for Native American, African-American, Hispanic, and Southeast Asian community populations in environmental and community health research.

Short Course Description

CIREEH offers short courses for research ethics training for community health research. In these courses, we identify key ethical concerns in community health research and illustrate them through case studies. We offer training on various theoretical ethical frameworks that are relevant to community health research. Ethical considerations with health research methodologies (epidemiology, exposure and risk assessment, environmental and medical monitoring) are discussed in the context of community-based environmental health research. These short course venues include semester-long courses (see course syllabi), as well as day-long, half-day, or seminar presentations for junior and senior scientists and for community activists concerned with research ethics issues. The Project team has given presentations in many national conference/workshop venues. The Project also sponsored a national conference on research ethics in May 2003.

Course topics that have been addressed include:

Community Research Protections in Academic and Community Collaborative Research

Social Responsibility of Researchers in Community-Driven Studies

Using Rituals to Promote the Ethical Relation in Academic-Community Partnerships

Communication and Conflict Resolution in Research Ethics

Native American Research Ethics in Environmental Health

Participatory Research Methods for Improving Environmental Health Research

Improving Exposure Assessment through Community Collaboration

Communal Ethical Frameworks for Community Health Research

Cultural Diversity in Research Ethics: Legitimating Cultural Knowledge and Contexts

Building Community Infrastructure for Equity in the Research Process

Defining Community and Conceptualizing Community for Health Research

Case Studies/Articles and Annotated Bibliographies

The CIREEH also produces new case studies and articles in the field of research ethics for community health research. We also produce current annotated bibliographies on research ethic topics. The website  has an extensive list of these which can be downloaded for the public.

Research Ethics: Special Problems

The collaborators of the CIREEH also work together for special problem areas in research ethics. Currently, we are engaged in a project on special problems for research ethics with radiation health studies around the nuclear weapons complex with community health concerns from radioactive contamination. In the south, we are also working on special problem areas in developing community research ethics for African-American communities appropriate to their specific community conditions and to the special problems of racism in those communities.

For further information, please contact Dianne Quigley, Principal Investigator, 501 Hall of Languages, Dept of Religion, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, 13244. Tel. (315) 443-3861;

The Collaborative Initiative for Research Ethics and Environmental Health is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Health, National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease Grant Program for Research Ethics - T15 A149650-01