Accessing Ethics Consultation Service


Research Ethics Consultation Service

The Research Ethics Consultation Service adds a dynamic and non-regulatory element to the research process that makes it more efficient, both in terms of advancing research and of fostering high standards of research ethics. Such consultations seek to develop collaborations between investigators and ethicists aimed at sensitizing scientists to the ethical dimensions of their work and exposing ethicists to the complexities of scientific design. This dialogue should lead to more informed professional self-regulation and weave an even higher regard for human subject protection into the professional ethos of researchers than already exists.

Investigators from the partnering institutions are encouraged to consult with bioethicists with expertise in specific areas of clinical/translational research during the protocol development process to conceptualize and design trials that are ethically sound before protocols are submitted for departmental, scientific, or IRB review, and throughout the course of the study.

Ethicists are trained to uncover hidden assumptions, analyze concepts, clarify meanings, and recognize normative, epistemological and social issues. They can thus bring to the forefront of the discussion ethical and epistemological aspects of biomedical research in general and of specific projects in particular, and can also call attention to possible consequences of varying courses of action. In addition, consultants can assist with strategies to improve the quality of informed consent and minimize the therapeutic misconception, which occurs when subjects confuse research with therapy

Protocols that involve the following issues/elements may find research ethics consultation particularly helpful:

  • Subjects who may lack decision-making capacity
  • Protocols involving surrogate decision-making
  • Recruitment of vulnerable subjects
  • Novel experimental techniques/interventions
  • Stem cells
  • Gene transfer studies
  • Pediatric studies involving moderate to high risk

To request an ethics consult for a CTSC project, please contact:

     Inmaculada de Melo-Martin, PhD, MS
     Phone: (212) 746-1268


     The Division of Medical Ethics, Weill Cornell Medical College
     Chief: Joseph J. Fins, MD
     Phone: (212) 746-4246