This paper maps key research questions for humanitarian health ethics: the ethical dimensions of healthcare provision and public health activities during international responses to situations of humanitarian crisis. Development of this research agenda was initiated at the Humanitarian Health Ethics Forum (HHE Forum) convened in Hamilton, Canada in November 2012. The HHE Forum identified priority avenues for advancing policy and practice for ethics in humanitarian health action. The main topic areas examined were: experiences and perceptions of humanitarian health ethics; training and professional development initiatives for humanitarian health ethics; ethics support for humanitarian health workers; impact of policies and project structures on humanitarian health ethics; and theoretical frameworks and ethics lenses. Key research questions for each topic area are presented, as well as proposed strategies for advancing this research agenda. Pursuing the research agenda will help strengthen the ethical foundations of humanitarian health action.
Institution: McMaster University
Affiliation: Humanitarian Healthcare Ethics research group
Department: Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Elysée Nouvet is a Post-Doctoral and CIHR Fellow in Humanitarian Health Care Ethics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from York University and a Masters in Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Elysee Nouvet has conducted a range of qualitative studies in Nicaragua, Canada, and Nepal, connected by their concern with a) suffering, its social production and survival, b) cross-cultural/cross-class responses to suffering, and b) the ethics and aesthetics of evoking distress and violence in visual and written media. Underlying her practice as a medical anthropologist is a commitment to bringing diverse healthcare stakeholders into dialogue to improve care. She is currently leading research on Nicaraguans’ perceptions and experiences of international medical missions (2013-15), and is co-investigator on a HAHSO innovation study (2014-16) aimed at identifying strategies to improve quality end-of-life communication in acute care. A member of the Canada-based Humanitarian Healthcare Ethics Research group, she co-curates and is a regular blog contributor to Picturing Humanitarian Healthcare, an open-access platform aimed at stimulating discussion, reflection, and debate on the ethics of producing in/of contexts of humanitarian crises: http://humanitarianhealthethics.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=97&Itemid=283