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Celia Fisher

Celia Fisher

Celia Fisher, Ph.D.
Marie Ward Doty University Chair in Ethics
Director, Fordham University Center for Ethics Education
Director, HIV/Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Institute (New School for Social Research, 1978)
Ethics and Society Blog

Phone: 718-817-3793

Rose Hill Campus: Dealy Hall, Room 117

Keywords: Ethics; Substance Use and Abuse; Health disparities; Multiculturalism

Currently accepting students and trainees

View Celia Fisher's PubMed Publications

Curriculum Vitae


View Pubmed Publications

  • Tamir, H., Krupp, K., Stephens, D. P., Zohourian, T., Dorcius, P. M., Arun A., Fisher, C. B., & Madhivanan, P. (2018).  Addressing Prevention among HIV-Negative Women in PMTCT Programs in South India. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 29, 45-52.
  • Pearson, C. R. Parker, M., Zhou, C., Donald, C., Fisher, C.B. (online 2018). A Culturally Tailored Research Ethics Training Curriculum for American Indian and Alaska Native Communities: A Randomized Comparison Trial. Critical Public Health published online Feb, 2018.
  • Fisher, C. B., Fried, A. L., Puri, L. I., Macapagal, K. & Mustanski, B. (2018). Patient-provider communication barriers and facilitators to HIV and STI preventive services for adolescent MSM. Aids & Behavior, 22 (10), 3417-3428.  DOI: 10.1007/s10461-18-2081-x PMID: 29546468
  • Fletcher, F. E., Fisher, C. B., Buchberg, M.K., Floyd, B., Hotton, A., Ejioba, A.,& Donenberg, G. R. (2018). “Where Did This [PrEP] Come From?” African American Mother/Daughter Attitudes Towards Adolescent Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Utilization and Clinical Trial Participation. Journal of Empirical Research on Research Ethics, 13(2), 173-184.  PMID: 29781706 DOI: 10.1177/1556264618755919
  • Macapagal, K., Moskowitz, D., Li, D. H., Carrion, A., Bettin, E., Fisher, C. B. & Mustanski, B. (2018). Hookup app use, sexual behavior, and sexual health among adolescent men who have sex with men in the United States. Journal Adolescent Health, 62, 708-715.   DOI:
  • Chen, D. Matson, M.; Macapagal, K; Johnson, E K., Rosoklija, I., Finlayson, C., Fisher, C. B. & Mustanski, B. (2018 online). Attitudes Toward Fertility and Reproductive Health among Transgender and Gender-nonconforming Adolescents. Journal Adolescent Health.
  • Nelson, K. M., Carey, M.P. & Fisher, C. B. (2018). Is guardian permission a barrier to online sexual health research among adolescent males interested in sex with males. The Journal of Sex Research.
  • Fisher, C.B., Puri, L. I.  Macapagal, K., & Mustanski, B. (2018) “Free Testing and PrEP without Outing Myself to Parents:” Motivation to Participate in Oral and Injectable PrEP Clinical Trials among Adolescent Men who have Sex with Men. PLoS ONE 13(7): e0200560. PMID: 3004845 PMCID: PMC6059443 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0200560.​​​​​​
  • Fisher, C.B., Fried, A. L., Desmond, M., Macapagal, K., & Mustanski, B. (2018). Perceived barriers to HIV prevention services for transgender youth. LGBT Health. Aug/Sep;5(6):350-358. doi: 10.1089/lgbt.2017.0098. PMCID: PMC6139078 . NIHMSID: NIHMS953073. PMID: 29546468
  • Fisher, C. B. & Layman, D. M. (2018). Genomics, big data, and broad consent: A new ethics frontier for prevention science. Prevention Science, 19(7), 871-879
  • Clark DB, Fisher, C.B., Bookheimer S, Brown SA, Evans JH, Hopfer C, Hudziak J, Montoya I, Murray M, Pfefferbaum A, Yurgelun-Todd D.  Biomedical ethics and clinical oversight in multisite observational neuroimaging studies with children and adolescents: The ABCD experience. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 2018 Aug;32:143-154, PMID: 28716389; PMCID: PMC5745294; NIHMS893252; DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2017.06.005
  • Abadie, R., Brown, B., & Fisher, C. B. (2018). “Money helps”: People who inject drugs and their perceptions of financial compensation and its ethical implications. Ethics & Behavior,
  • Abadie, R., Goldenberg, S., Welch-Lazoritz, M., Fisher, C. B. (2018). Establishing trust in HIV/HCV research among people who inject drugs (PWID): Insights from empirical research. PLoS ONE, 13 (12). e0208410. pone.0208410
  • Overstreet, N., Okuyan, M., & Fisher, C. B, (2018).  Perceived Risks and Benefits in Intimate Partner Violence and HIV Research: Listening to the Voices of HIV-Positive African American Women. Journal of Empirical Research on Research Ethics.
  • Fisher, C. B. (2017). Decoding the Ethics Code: A Practical Guide for Psychologists, Fourth Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Fisher, C. B., Arbeit, M., Dumont, M., Macapagal, K., & Mustanski, B. (2016). Self-consent for HIV prevention research involving sexual and gender minority youth: Reducing barriers through evidence-based ethics. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 11, first published online 3.7.16 DOI: 10.1177/1556264616633963
  • Macapagal, K., Coventry, R., Arbeit, M., Fisher, C. B. & Mustanski, B. (2016). “I won’t out myself just to do a survey”: Sexual and gender minority adolescent’s perspectives on the risks and benefits of sex research. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Online July 28, 2016 DOI 10.1007/s10508-016-0784-5
  • Fisher, C. B. (2015). Enhancing the responsible conduct of sexual health prevention research across global and local contexts: Training for evidence-based research ethics. Ethics &Behavior, 25 (2). DOI: 10.1080/10508422.2014.948956
  • Fisher, C. B. & Yuko, E. (2015). The HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute: Training early-career scientists to conduct research on research ethics Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 10(5), 470-480.
  • Fisher, C. B. & Mustanski, B. (2014) Reducing health disparities and enhancing the responsible conduct of research involving LGBT youth. Hastings Center Report, 5, 28-31. PMID: 25231783, PMCID: 4617525
  • Fisher, C. B. (2014). HIV Prevention Research Ethics: An Introduction to the Special Issue. Journal Of Empirical Research On Human Research Ethics, 9(1), 1-5. PMID: 24572078
  • Fisher, C.B., True, G., Alexander, L., & Fried, A.L. (2013). Moral stress, moral practice, and ethical climate in community-based drug use research: Views from the frontline. American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research, 4(3), 27-38.
  • Fisher, C. B. (2013). Confidentiality and disclosure in non-intervention adolescent risk research. Applied Developmental Science, 17 (2), 1-6
  • Fisher, C. B. (2013). Human rights and psychologists’ involvement in assessments related to death penalty cases. Ethics & Behavior, 23 (1), 58-61.
  • Fisher, C.B., Brunnquell, D.J., Hughes, D.L., Maholmes, V., Plattner, P. Russell, S.T., Liben, S., & Susman, E.J. (2013). Preserving and enhancing the responsible conduct of research involving children and youth: A response to proposed changes in federal regulations. Social Policy Report, 27 (1), 3-15.
  • Fisher, C. B. & McCarthy, E. L. (2013). Ethics in prevention science involving genetic testing. [Special issue] Prevention Science, 14, 310-318. PMID: 23354905
  • Fisher, C. B., Busch-Rossnagel, N.B., Jopp, D.S., & Brown, J.L. (2012). Applied developmental science, social justice and socio-political well-being. Applied Developmental Science, 16(1), 54-64.

Downloadable PowerPoint Presentations

Fisher, Celia B. (2018). "Psychology and Ethics: Strengthening Diverse Relationships Across Psychology." American Psychological Association Division 53: Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Webinar.

Fisher, Celia B. (2018). “Free Testing and PrEP Without Outing Myself to Parents: Barriers and Facilitators for Oral and Injectable PrEP Clinical Trial Participation Among AMSM.” International AIDS Conference.

Fisher, Celia B. (2017). “Experiences Seeking Health Care Among Transgender Adults and Youth.” Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Fisher, Celia B. (2017). "Goodness-of-Fit Ethics: Theory and Methods for Enhancing the Responsible Conduct of HIV and Drug Abuse Research." Fordham University HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute.

Fisher, Celia B. (2017). “Human Rights and Involvement of Mental Health Practitioners in Death Penalty Cases.” Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine.

Fisher, Celia B. (2017). “Rethinking Individual and Group Harms in the Age of Genomics and Big Data.” Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai IRB Retreat.

Fisher, Celia B. (2016). “Ethics & Social Justice in Health Research Involving Vulnerable Adolescents.” OHRP CITI Research Community Forum.

Fisher, Celia B. (2016). “Moral Stress Among Frontline Workers Conducting Community-Based Drug Use Research.” Fordham University HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute.

Fisher, Celia B. (2015). “Doing Good Well: The Ethical Conduct of Clinical Psychology.” Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

Fisher, Celia B. (2015). “Ethics & Social Justice in Research Involving Vulnerable Populations.” Center for Technology and Behavioral Health, Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center.


Celia B. Fisher, PhD, is the Marie Ward Doty Endowed University Chair in Ethics and Professor of Psychology, and founding Director of the Fordham University Center for Ethics Education. She currently directs the NIDA funded Fordham University Training Institute on HIV Prevention Research Ethics.

She has served as Chair of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Human Studies Review Board, the DHHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP; Subcommittee on Children’s Research), the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code Task Force, the New York State Licensing Board for Psychology, the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Common Rule Task Force, and the American Public Health Association Ethics Code Committee. She served as member of the external advisory board of the NIH Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study,  the Consensus Panel of the American Psychological Association Therapeutic Responses to Gender Nonconformity, Gender Dysphoria, and Sexual Orientation Distress in Children and Adolescents, the National Academies' Committee on Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research in the Behavioral and Social Sciencesthe IOM Committee on Ethical Review and Oversight Issues in Research Involving Standard of Care Interventions, the IOM Committee on Clinical Research Involving Children.

A founding editor of the journal Applied Developmental Science, Dr. Fisher is the author of Decoding the Ethics Code: A Practical Guide for Psychologists (4th edition, 2017, Sage Publications); co-editor of eight books, including The Handbook of Ethical Research with Ethnocultural Populations and Communities (2006, Sage Publications) and Research with High-Risk Populations: Balancing Science, Ethics, and Law (2009, APA Publications); and over 200 theoretical and empirical publications in the areas of ethics in medical and social science research and practice and life-span development. Dr. Fisher is well-known for her federally funded research programs focusing on ethical issues and well-being of vulnerable populations, including ethnic minority youth and families, persons with substance use disorders, college students at risk for drinking problems, LGBT youth, and adults with impaired consent capacity. Her recent work addresses ethical issues in psychiatric and social behavioral genomic research. She received the American Psychological Association’s 2017 Outstanding Contributions to Ethics Education Award, the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Human Research Protection and was named a 2012 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Recipient of the 2017 American Psychological Association’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Ethics Education.

Major Research Interests

  • Health disparities, human rights, and identity development in adolescent, racial/ethnic minority and LGBT youth and adult populations
  • HIV prevention research ethics
  • Substance abuse prevention
  • Informed consent capacity of healthy and hospitalized children and youth, adults with intellectual disabilities, individuals who use drugs, and those with mental disorders
  • Ethical attitudes and moral values among ethnic minority, LGBT, community workers and socially vulnerable groups
  • Environmental health ethics
  • Social Justice
  • Research and professional ethics
  • Social implications of genetic testing

View Dr. Fisher's current and previous research


  • American Psychological Association’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Ethics Education (2017)
  • Health Improvement Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Human Research Protection, 2011
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2012
  • Presidential Citation, American Psychological Association, 2003
  • Marie Ward Doty Chair and Professor of Psychology, Fordham University, 2003
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Graduate Faculty, New School University, 2004
  • Fellow, Society for the Study of Ethnic Minority Issues, Division 45, American Psychological Association, 2006

Funded Research Projects

Research Lab: Active Projects

Fordham University HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute

Primary Investigator: Celia B. Fisher (Fordham University). Supported by NIDA Grant# 1R25DA031608-01.

Now in its eighth year, the Fordham HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute (RETI) is a training grant sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (#1R25DA031608-01, Principal Investigator, Celia B. Fisher, Director Center for Ethics Education). The RETI provides early career investigators in the social, behavioral, medical and public health fields with an opportunity to gain research ethics training. A major function of the RETI is also to conduct institute-funded research on ethical issues in HIV and drug use research. In doing so, RETI addresses the urgent need for HIV investigators who can identify and address ethical issues, engage drug-using and other at-risk communities in the construction and evaluation of population-sensitive research protections, and generate empirical data to inform ethical practice and policies for HIV prevention science. Through their funded Mentored Research Project (MRP), RETI fellows generate empirical data, publish their findings in a variety of high-impact academic journals, and are trained to apply for increasing grant opportunities.

Ethics in HIV Prevention Research Involving LGBT Youth


Primary Investigators: Celia B. Fisher (Fordham University); Brian Mustanski (Northwestern University): Supported by NIMHD R01MD009561-01 

The overarching goal of the current proposal is to inform evidence-based decision making by investigators and IRBs alike regarding the responsible design and conduct of HIV prevention research involving LGBTY. We propose to address this knowledge gap with three specific aims: (1) To inform ethically responsible decision making and IRB application of relevant federal regulations (§§46.102i; 46.111.a) to the evaluation of psychological, social and informational risk-benefits of LGBTY involvement in HIV bio-behavioral research. Using focus groups and surveys we will generate empirical data on LGBTY’s appraisals of the magnitude and probability of the risks and anticipated benefits of recruitment strategies,risk behavior surveys, HIV/STI and drug use testing, and biomedical prevention trial participation. (2) To inform ethically responsible decision making and IRB application of regulations permitting waivers of guardian permission(§§46.116d and 46.408c) for LGBTY participation in HIV prevention research. Using focus groups and surveys we will generate empirical data on LGBTY’s appraisals of whether guardian permission is or is not a “practical” or a“reasonable” requirement for their participation in studies involving risk behavior surveys, HIV/STI and drug use testing, and biomedical prevention trials. We will explore if these appraisals differ by youth characteristics (e.g., degree of “outness”). AIM 3: To inform ethically responsible decision making and IRB application of regulations on youth capacity to consent (§§46.116d and 46.408c) for LGBTY participation in biomedical HIV prevention trials. Using a novel test of consent preparedness, we will generate empirical data on the consent preparedness of LGBT youths’ ages 15 – 17 compared to LGBT youth with adult legal status (18 – 20 years).

Ethics in HIV Prevention Research involving LGBT Youth: A Focus on Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Youth

Primary Investigators: Celia B. Fisher (Fordham University); Brian Mustanski (Northwestern University): Supported by NIMHD R01MD009561-01

Research on transgender adults has described how “informational and institutional erasure”– in other words, the systematic assumption in healthcare and in research that individuals identify and have consistently identified with their birth sex, thereby “erasing” their trans experiences – discourages them from participating in research and seeking healthcare and negatively impacts their mental and physical health. Therefore, this supplement is designed to (1) provide an opportunity for youth to discuss barriers to participating in HIV prevention research (e.g., gender-related microaggressions in the context of research participation, fear of the researcher not recognizing their gender identity, discomfort with gender binary language), and (2) to inform TGNCY appropriate sexual health recruitment and survey practices through population-sensitive and affirming procedures, language, and materials.

Human Development and Social Justice

The Human Development and Social Justice (HD&SJ) Lab is led by Dr. Celia B. Fisher, Professor in the Fordham University Applied Developmental Psychology program and Director of both the Center for Ethics Education and the NIDA funded HIV/Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Institute.

In the HD&SJ lab, our research is at the intersection of developmental science and social justice. We apply developmental theory and research methods, as well as contemporary research ethics frameworks, to examine the experiences that promote equity and wellbeing among under-researched populations. Our current projects focus on issues of stigma, identity, health disparities and the role of personal and systemic experiences in daily life. We explore these experiences within underserved adolescent groups: ethnic minorities, LGBT and individuals with a history of mental health and substance-use conditions. We are committed to conducting and promoting research that enhances the responsible conduct of research by looking at issues such as informed consent, motivations and implications of research participation and facilitators and barriers to health care services.

  • Genomics, Big Data and Broad Consent: A New Ethics Frontier for Prevention Science: Prevention scientists embarking on gene-by-intervention (GxI) and other research involving biospecimens are faced with a new frontier of ethical challenges regarding the use of biospecimens with a prolonged life course coupled with increased data sharing with unknown future investigators for possibly radically different purposes. The purpose of this project is to examine the upcoming changes to the federal regulations that guide the ethical research of human subjects and implications for prevention science. A forthcoming manuscript tackles the rationale for changes in the informed consent process and how these changes may shape research practices for current and future prevention scientists.

  • Influence of internalized stigma, psychological needs, and identity status on well-being for young women with a history of adolescent inpatient psychiatric hospitalization: For almost half of adolescents, progress toward developing a health identity and transitioning to adulthood is complicated by a mental health condition, most dramatically when removed from their community during periods of hospitalization. Deborah is designing an online survey study to be launched in Summer of 2018 which explores the extent to which internalized stigma, and basic psychological needs of autonomy, social connectedness, and self-perception of competency is predictive of a positive identity status among young women with a history of adolescent inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. Further, Deborah hypothesizes that positive identity status predicts well-being, as measured by self-assessed recovery and current emotional distress. Under the supervision of Dr. Fisher, this project will serve as Deborah’s thesis project.

  • Predictors of Sexual Health in Young Lesbian and Bisexual Black Women who have Sex with Men: Currently, there is a lack of research on sexual health predictors in ethnic and sexual minority women. The purpose of this Masters's Thesis project is to increase understanding of the personal, familial, cultural and systemic risk and protective factors associated with sexual and reproductive health in Black sexual minority females. This online, quantitative study will survey adolescent and young adult Black lesbian and bisexual women who have sex with men between the ages of 16 and 21 living in the US. We hope that the findings of this project will inform future efforts to reduce sexual health inequalities. This project will be funded by GLMA.

  • “They are an adult, they know the risks:” Investigators confront the benefits and challenges of online HIV research: Online research has become a critical modality for research aimed at reducing health disparities among hidden populations most at risk for HIV infection. Social media has provided a recruitment vehicle to reach large and diverse samples of participants from these groups. This study drew on the experiences of principal investigators (PIs) to illuminate benefits and challenges of online HIV research.


Research Lab: Completed Projects

Primary Investigators: Cynthia Pearson (University of Washington) and Celia B. Fisher (Fordham University). Supported by NICHD1R01HD082181-01.Increasing American Indian and Alaska Natives (AIAN) Research Engagement through a Culturally Adapted Ethics Training

American Indian and Alaska Natives (AIAN) face glaring health disparities, and AIAN-specific research lags behind other racial and ethnic data in addressing AIAN health concerns. Engaging AIAN community members in the research process can reduce research mistrust, increase scientific rigor, and expose more AIAN to research both as participants and potentially as future scholars. A significant barrier to community-engaged research (CEnR), however, is the absence of culturally relevant human subject's research ethics education for community partners. This early stage investigator initiated (PA-13-302) proposal addresses the urgent need to increase participation of AIAN in the design, implementation and dissemination of federally funded research conducted in Indian Country and affecting the health and welfare of their communities. By doing so, this study addresses a primary goal of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) "to strengthen our nation's research capacity, broaden our research base, and inspire a passion for science in current and future generations of researchers." The overarching goal is to strengthen research capacity and increase AIAN community involvement in NIH-funded research by creating a culturally relevant training module for the Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI) that is applicable, accessible and passable for AIAN while enhancing its educational value.


Sense of community and health outcomes among transgender college students

Investigators: Melissa Dumont and Celia B. Fisher, PhD, Fordham University

Transgender people are an understudied population that are at-risk for many poor health and academic outcomes. Transgender college students may experience victimization and other stressors from their college campus, which contribute to these outcomes. These students may turn to campus LGBT organizations in order to have a community that they can belong to, but many transgender people report hostility even within LGBT organizations. This study will examine the role of psychological sense of community (PSOC) as a protective factor, across three different communities: the individual’s campus, campus LGBT organizations, and online LGBT communities.

Investigators: Mona Khalil and Celia B. Fisher, PhD, Fordham UniversityDiscrimination Distress, Academic Performance, and Psychological Wellbeing Among Arab Muslim College Students: Factors Influencing Well-being Among Arab Muslim College Students

Recent psychological literature has demonstrated that Arab Muslims adolescents and young adults may be at high risk for poor psychological well-being and diminished academic performance due to persistent discrimination. Despite this risk, a dearth of information exists on unique risk and protective factors for the impacts of discrimination and discrimination distress on Arab Muslims. A sample of Arab Muslim American college students will be recruited for the current study. A structural model will be developed to examine how acculturative strategy, ethnic identity exploration, commitment, centrality, public regard, private regard, stigma visibility, and stigma consciousness relate to reports of discrimination frequency, discrimination distress, and their subsequent impact on depressive symptoms, self-esteem and academic performance.

Ethics in HIV Prevention Research involving LGBT Youth: A Focus on Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Youth

Investigators: Miriam R. Arbeit, PhD and Celia B. Fisher, PhD, Fordham University

Transgender and gender nonconforming youth and young adults (TGNCY) face particular vulnerabilities to HIV transmission. These vulnerabilities, and the potential strategies for addressing them, may be unique in many ways from those of their cisgender LGB peers. The purpose of this study is to guide the development of HIV prevention and sexual health intervention research in ways that are inclusive, accessible, and affirming of TGNCY and are effective in addressing their sexual health needs. We will do this by gathering the perspectives of TGNCY with regard to how they have seen and how they want to see their sexual selves, their sexual relationships, and their access to and treatment within sexual health institutions. As such, this research has the potential to inform recommendations for both research and practice in preventing HIV transmission and promoting sexual health among TGNCY.



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