At Albert Einstein College of Medicine, education in the responsible conduct of research is mandatory for all graduate students, M.D./Ph.D. [MSTP] students and postdoctoral fellows.
The course format involves weekly lectures (one hour) to the entire class followed by 90-minute small group, case-based discussions, which focus on the topic of the weekly lecture. Each small group includes faculty members and a mix of 10 to 15 Ph.D. students, MSTP students and postdoctoral fellows. The course follows the American Association of Medical Colleges handbook Teaching the Responsible Conduct of Research through a Case Study Approach. The course addresses the nine NIH-mandated subjects, including:
- conflict of interest — personal, professional, and financial;
- policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices;
- mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships;
- collaborative research including collaborations with industry;
- peer review including publications and grant reviews;
- data acquisition and laboratory tools; management, sharing and ownership;
- research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct;
- responsible authorship and publication; avoiding questionable writing practices; plagiarism; and
- the scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research.
In addition, the Animal Institute at Einstein offers workshops that serve as an introduction to practical and ethical issues involved in the use of laboratory animals in research. All predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows who conduct research involving animals are required to take a preparatory course before beginning their research.
With regard to human subjects, the Committee on Clinical Investigations (CCI) holds several training workshops annually for investigators and trainees on the ethics of research involving human subjects. At these workshops, the CCI and Einstein administration present and explain federal regulations governing research on human subjects as well as specific institutional policies; provide general ethical and philosophical viewpoints on informed consent, risk‑benefit assessments, recruitment of subjects and vulnerable subject populations; and provide a forum for discussion and questions.