Ethical Challenges in Short-Term Global Health Training
Course Introduction

This series of cases introduces trainees and others involved in global health research and service to ethical issues that may arise during short-term training experiences abroad. Being able to recognize and navigate these issues is critical for avoiding harm to communities as well as facilitating a long-term, productive collaboration for the betterment of global health (1). The Working Group on Ethics Guidelines for Global Health Training (WEIGHT) has recently published best practice guidelines for this setting (2).

Using ten cases adapted from real-world experiences, this series builds on the WEIGHT guidelines and helps users identify and develop strategies for navigating some of these ethical issues. Although based on true scenarios, many details, including names and locales, have been changed to protect individual and institutional privacy and to assist in meeting educational objectives.


By the end of this series, users will:
  1. Demonstrate increased awareness of ethical issues involved in short-term global health programs abroad;

  2. Identify strategies for dealing with these ethical issues as they arise;

  3. Display increased confidence in their ability to navigate these issues; and

  4. Report anticipated and actual changes in their behavior during their training program abroad.

Intended Audience

Trainees in global health research and practice abroad are the primary audience for these cases. Other individuals involved in these training programs - including faculty mentors and advisors at sending and host institutions, as well as program sponsors – may also find them useful.

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The course consists of ten cases, listed at left.  To begin, click the title of the first case or here.

Additional Resources

A list of additional resources for further reading about each case and ethical issues in short-term training programs abroad. This is available in PDF format here.

Additional Questions and Topics for Discussion

These ten cases are likely to raise additional issues that can motivate additional discussion. A list of additional discussion questions that can be used this purpose is available in PDF format here.

Certificate of Completion

A certificate of completion is available for each case and can be used to meet certain program requirements. In order to obtain the certificate of you will need to complete the post-test at the end of each case and provide your email address. This consists of 5 brief survey questions.

Course Strategic and Development Team

Michele Barry, MD, FACP
Center for Innovation in Global Health
Senior Associate Dean of Global Health
Director, Center for Global Health
Stanford University

Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, MA, FACP
Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Bioethics and Medicine
Berman Institute of Bioethics and Department of Medicine
John Hopkins University

Matthew DeCamp, MD, PHD
Greenwall Fellow in Bioethics and Health Policy
Johns Hopkins University

Gene Richardson, MD
Resident in Internal Medicine
Stanford University

Joce Rodriguez
Center for Innovation in Global Health
Program Manager
Center for Global Health
Stanford University

(1) Pinto A, Upshur, R. Global Health Ethics for Students. Dev World Bioeth 2009:9(1):1-10.
(2) Working Group on Ethics Guidelines for Global Health Training (WEIGHT), Ethics and Best Practice Guidelines for Training Experiences in Global Health. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2010 83: 1178-1182.


© Stanford University Center for Global Health and the Johns Hopkins University Berman Institute of Bioethics.

Project funding provided by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF)