The IU Center for Bioethics is dedicated to conducting leading bioethics research at local, state, national, and international levels. The IUCB's research areas fall into four categories: Health Information, Big Data, and Privacy; Research Ethics; Public Health and Policy; and Decision Making, Genetic Testing, and Personalized Medicine.
The IUCB studies issues that arise from the growing capacity to collect health information from a variety of sources. Two emerging issues are the focus of current projects: how to encourage data sharing among researchers, and how to manage the larger and larger data sets (“big data”) that are beyond the scope of current regulation and policy.
The IUCB has extensive expertise to assess some of the key challenges arising from research involving human subjects including informed consent and the ethical review of research protocols. Additionally, IUCB faculty are experts in newer issues involving international studies, translational science, and the use of biobanks.
The promise of a healthier public has never seemed more achievable given the scientific and policy tools society possesses, and yet, society still faces staggering public health challenges. Ironically, the greater the technological leaps we make, the more profound the ethical challenges we face. How should we balance the rights of individuals with promotion of the public good? How should we protect underserved and marginalized populations? IUCB faculty work with the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health, the Indiana Department of Health, and international collaborators to address these questions.
One of the key ethical goals of modern healthcare is helping individuals make decisions that reflect their desires and express their goals and commitments in life. The old world of “doctor knows best” has been supplanted by a world of patient autonomy. But helping patients make good decisions, often regarding cutting edge technologies like genetic testing, raises complex issues that faculty at the IU Center for Bioethics address in their funded work in ethics, as well as in empirical research.