Ethical Challenges in Short-Term Global Health Training
Qing now realizes she needs help with her project. Click image to start video.
CASE 6: Recognizing Burdens

Vignette 2: Qing has developed new insight into her role as a volunteer as part of a short-term training experience abroad: Through no fault of her own, and as a result of the local community’s generosity, her presence could create burdens on them. This situation extends beyond burdens of hospitality.

Dr. Gonzalez is a local provider who is volunteering to help Qing with her research project, even though it requires taking her away from the clinic and community she serves. Which of the following is NOT a good strategy for Qing to mitigate or avoid the burdens her project might be creating? Choose the only INCORRECT answer.

While Qing is in-country, she should work with her sending institution, host site, and sponsor to help minimize any burden or cost her presence creates.
This IS a good strategy. Because some amount of “cost” or “burden” could be inevitable, trainees, sending and host institutions, and sponsors have a joint responsibility to help minimize these burdens. For Qing, this responsibility might require her to be aware of this burden and to use Dr. Gonzalez’s help only when truly necessary. Choose a different answer.
When Qing returns home, she should inform her sponsor so that the next trainee will not be such a burden.
You are correct - this IS NOT a good strategy. It is important to acknowledge these burdens. Waiting until she returns might aid the longer-term collaboration as well as help future trainees and projects, but this would not rectify the ongoing issues during her short-term training experience.
Qing should strive to recognize when she is creating a burden on the host site.
This IS a good strategy. Qing’s comments in this case imply that she is aware that her research project might be creating unforeseen burdens or costs on the local community, including Dr. Gonzalez. Being alert to this possibility is one important strategy for minimizing its effects. Choose a different answer.
Trainees (like Qing), sending and host institutions, and sponsors should work together to foresee when and how these burdens arise.
This IS a good strategy. Although some burdens or costs will be unanticipated, many can be foreseen. In this case, it is not surprising that Dr. Gonzalez ends up needing to help Qing. Trainees, sending and host institutions, and sponsors should attempt – through advance collaboration – to foresee when this might occur. Then, they can develop a strategy to minimize or offset the cost (e.g., by sending additional personnel or resources to ensure Dr. Gonzalez’s clinic responsibilities are not unfulfilled). Choose a different answer.
© Stanford University Center for Global Health and the Johns Hopkins University Berman Institute of Bioethics.

Project funding provided by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF)