Institutional Commitment

The University is guided in all research with human subjects, whether funded or not, by the principles outlined in The Belmont Report of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (April 18, 1979). Briefly, three basic ethical principles are set forth in that Report:

  1. Respect for Persons. The principle of respect for persons...divides into two separate moral requirements: the requirements to acknowledge autonomy and to protect those with diminished autonomy.

  2. Beneficence. Two general rules have been formulated as complementary expressions of beneficent actions: (1) do no harm and (2) maximize possible benefits and minimize possible harms.

  3. Justice. Who ought to receive the benefits of research and bear its burdens? This is a question of justice in the sense of "fairness in distribution" or "what is deserved." An injustice occurs when some benefit to which a person is entitled is denied without good reason or when some burden is imposed unduly.

The application of these principles to research requires that appropriate procedures be followed. Respect for persons requires that informed consent be obtained from all research subjects or their legal representatives, unless the research falls within an exempt category. Beneficence requires that the researcher assess risks and benefits to subjects. Justice requires that research subjects be selected in a fair and equitable manner.

The following guidelines and procedures have been established to assist the University community in carrying out its commitment to ethical behavior in human subjects research. They are in compliance with federal regulations (title 45 CFR Part 46) and New York State law (Article 24-A of the Public Health Law).