School of Public Health, And Partners Organize First Ever “Ghana Research Integrity Development (GRID) Conference” At University of Ghana
In his opening address, Dr. Amos Laar of the School of Public Health and a member of the GRID Organizing Committee indicated that the Conference is a special activity for those who work in academia, but also important to many others because it concerns itself with matters which matter to researchers, bioethicists, as policy makers, as research regulators, and even as students. Dr. Laar further noted that, the goal of the NYU-UG SPH strategic partnership goes beyond the GRID Conference. He hinted of a soon to be operationalized 5-year project titled “NYU-UG Research Integrity Training Program”, led by Professors Arthur Caplan, Ogedegbe (both of the New York University), and Dr. Laar (of the University of Ghana). This 5-year grant aims to build sustainable research ethics and integrity capacity in Ghana, and will establish a Master’s programme, which provides Master’s degrees in Bioethics at the University of Ghana. He hoped that as part of this new Bioethics Programme, the GRID Conference will be institutionalized at the University of Ghana - becoming an annual event.
Dr. Laar also took the opportunity to express his appreciation to the management of the School of Public Health, and University of Ghana for their support throughout the process of both the proposal submission and conference organization. He welcomed both the local and international speakers to the conference.
The Provost of the College of Health Sciences, and Ag. Dean of the School of Public Health, Professor Rev. Patrick Ayeh-Kumi, noted that the strength of any great School of Public Health lies not only in its ability to teach students the fundamentals of Research Methods, Epidemiology, and other traditional disciplines, or win research grants, but also in the School’s ability to increase student, staff, and even faculty understanding of ethical implementation of such grants. Both institutions, i.e. the New York University School of Medicine, and the University of Ghana School of Public Health are staunchly committed to promoting Research Ethics – through GRID and other initiatives.
Prof. Arthur Caplan, Professor of Bioethics and Director, Division of Medical Ethics, NYU School of Medicine, delivered his welcome message to the participants virtually via Skype Call. He expressed gratitude to the two institutions and members of the GRID Organizing Committee for impacting humanity through the GRID initiative.
Comprising talks and panel discussions featuring experts from Ghana, Nigeria, and the United States, the speakers included:
Other talks were delivered by Dr. Amos Laar focusing on “The State of Research Ethics Climate in Ghana”, and Prof. Ayodele Samuel Jegede, of the Department of Sociology, Faculty of the Social Sciences, & West Africa Bioethics Training Program University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria on “Research Integrity at the International, Regional and Local Levels”.
These talks were carefully punctuated with panel discussions covering the following themes: Case Study: Study Samples and Biobanking in Africa; Authorship, Plagiarism, and Research Data Ownership and Control; IRB/ERC Ability to Follow Up on Trial Conduct; and Ghanaian and International Regulations about Research Integrity.
PANEL DISCUSSION—IRB/REC ABILITY TO FOLLOW UP ON
TRIAL CONDUCT: Panelists: Mr. Fidelis E. Y. Anumu, Ag. Head of Research Operations,
Institute of Health Research, UHAS; Mr. Okyere Boateng, Institute Administrator, NMIMR & UG; Mr. Kyle Ferguson, NYU School of Medicine; Dr. Cynthia Bannerman, Chairperson, GHS Ethics Review
PANEL DISCUSSION—AUTHORSHIP, PLAGIARISM, RESEARCH DATA OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL
PANEL DISCUSSION—CASE STUDY: STUDY SAMPLES AND BIOBANKING IN AFRICA
Panelists: Mrs. Sodey Akoto, Research Associate, NMIMR & SPH, UG; Dr. James Akazili, Deputy Director, Research and Development Division, GHS; and Dr. Ama Edwin, Department of Psychological Medicine and Mental Health, UHAS
THE FOURTH PANEL DISCUSSION—FOCUSED ON GHANAIAN AND INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS ABOUT RESEARCH INTEGRITY. Panelists: Prof. Joseph R. A. Ayee, Dr. Barbara Redman, Associate, Division of Medical Ethics, NYU School of Medicine & Adjunct Professor, NYU School of Nursing, and moderated by Prof. Michael Okyerefo, Head, Department of Sociology, UG.
Delivered on behalf of their institutions were solidarity messages from:
Ms. Helena Baidoo, President, Ghana Association of Administrators of Research Ethics Committees (GHAAREC),
Dr. James Akazili, Deputy Director, Research and Development Division, GHS, and
Prof. George Obeng Adjei, Director of Research, Office of Research Innovation and Development, University of Ghana
There were 100 participants comprising researchers, academics, students and ethical committee representatives.
The Conference is the culmination of a project supported by a grant from the Office of Research Integrity, US Department of Health and Human Services, but also the beginning of what was unanimously recommended by participants to be an annual event.
The GRID Organizing Committee (OC) comprised: Professors Arthur Caplan, Olugbenga Ogedegbe, Richard Adanu, Kwadwo Koram; Drs Amos Laar, Barbara Redman, Ama Kyerewaa Edwin, Joseph Plange-Rhule, and Mr. Kyle Ferguson. The OC were ably supported by Abena Engmann (RDO, School of Public Health), and Sylvia Darko Osei (Independent Consultant)