Session: Ethics in Prevention Science: New Frontiers, Establishing Ethical Guidelines and Advancing the Training of Prevention Scientists (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

2-006 Ethics in Prevention Science: New Frontiers, Establishing Ethical Guidelines and Advancing the Training of Prevention Scientists

Wednesday, May 29, 2019: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Marina Room (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
Bonnie Leadbeater
Doug Coatsworth, Celia Fisher, Deborah Gorman-Smith, Phillip Wayne Graham and Patrick H. Tolan
This round table brings together a distinguished group of prevention scientists to discuss key issues in prevention science.

The SPR Ethics Task Force members documented their process and findings (Leadbeater, Prevention Science, 2018) to inform training and continued efforts to articulate ethical practice for prevention scientists. The task force identified “real life” activities that commonly stemmed from implementation and scale-up efforts. These “cases”, identified by members of SPR, illustrated typical ethical dilemmas encountered. Based on these cases, the article derived questions, practices, principles and concepts that can be used to frame the discussion of ethical concerns that may be encountered in implementation and scale-up efforts. The article also summarized value statements that stemmed from our discussion and concluded that the field of prevention science could benefit from more discussion on the standards and guidelines that would promote ethical behavior and social justice in the process of developing and implementing evidence-based prevention practices in community settings. The authors also invited further discussion on this important topic. A valuable commentary by Dr. Pat Tolan also raised key concerns for out next steps including; Do practitioners and scientists need ethical guidelines that are specific to prevention and implementation science? Can ethical choices be distinguished from methodological and technical problems? Can we move from case studies to core ethical values and principles that provide ethical guidance across a variety of “cases” or “activities”?

Issues that will be considered at this round table include:

  1. Relating and differentiating ethical dilemmas and practice challenges and choices.
  2. Genomics, big data, and broad consent
  3. Examining ethical accountability in preventive interventions targeting marginalized
  4. How are ethical concerns currently represented in training for graduate students and early career researchers in prevention science?
  5. Can we articulate core ethical principles for working with minority and vulnerable populations?
  6. Whose perspective "should" define core ethical principles and dilemmas for prevention science?
  7. Is there a role for an SPR code of conduct in guiding ethical behavior?
  8. Are we ready to articulate core principles that reflect the core mission of SPR and the profession(s) it represents?


Leadbeater, B. J., Dishion, T., Sandler, I., Bradshaw, C. P., Dodge, K., Gottfredson, D., … Smith, E. P. (2018). Ethical challenges in promoting the implementation of preventive interventions: Report of the spr task force. Prevention Science.

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