Human Experimentation and Public Policy

Award Year:
Sydney Halpern
Human Subjects Research, Medical Ethics
Controversy surrounding federally mandated oversight of human-subjects research has redoubled in recent years as news of regulatory problems receive increased public attention. Advocates continue to call for reform and changes, yet neither scholarship nor public discourse has offered much insight into the sources of recurrent controversies. Dr. Halpern will provide a historically grounded account linking current regulatory problems to both the oversight system and the relations among institutional actors, which shaped its emergence. She will clarify: 1) why the system assumed its current form; 2) what forces and actors shape regulatory practices and possibilities for change; 3) what procedures for handling human experimentation have not been pursued; 4) how policy choices come to be framed; and 5) how regulatory arrangements helped to create or failed to solve policy problems. Her resulting work will describe processes that foster or inhibit change, unintended consequences of reforms, and precedents for alternative oversight measures.