Services We Offer

We focus on four different service areas: Convening, Consultation, Research, and Education. Working with partners, we provide expertise on these areas in the field of ethics and global health.

The Task Force for Global Health enjoys a long history of bringing people together across divides of ideology and perspective to explore common ground and commit to collaborating to solve complex, real-world problems. FACE brings this experience to bear on major ethical issues in global health. The following examples illustrate some of our work. Contact us to explore how we might convene for your organization.

  • Epidemiology of Compassion & Love – January 2020

Compassion and love have been scientifically investigated by physiology, biology, neuroscience, psychology, and other disciplines. See, for example, the recently published Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science. Strangely, however, the tools of epidemiology have not been applied to understanding and promoting compassion and love. We believe that it is worth a try. FACE will convene an invitation-only gathering of scholars and practitioners to explore how compassion and love are distributed by person, place, and time and to consider factors that predispose persons and organizations to compassion and love. It is hoped that this meeting will have important, practical applications for global health, as ministries of health are increasingly embarking on creating compassionate health systems.

  • Compassionate Health Systems – December 2019

In cooperation with the World Health Organization, FACE is convening partners to better understand the power of love and compassion to improve the quality of health care and to build, support, and monitor compassionate health systems. We will launch this activity with periodic webinar, “global health compassion rounds.” 

  • Breaking the Impasse of Loiasis as a Barrier to Onchocerciasis Elimination – June 2019

In parts of central Africa, progress towards elimination of river blindness, a parasitic disease spread by black flies, has been stalled. People living in the same area who are infected with a related parasite, Loa loa, are at risk of coma and even death if they participate in mass treatment with ivermectin, the drug given to eliminate river blindness. The global health community has been divided over how to weigh the benefits of eliminating river blindness for entire populations against the risk to some individuals associated with Loa loa, particularly in areas where the risk of river blindness is low. FACE worked closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to plan, convene, and chair a meeting in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, which brought together stakeholders to review data, explore recently-developed technologies, and break through this impasse. A report of the meeting is forthcoming.

  • Ethically Managed Global Health Fieldwork Risks Workshop – April 2018

In collaboration with Agnes Scott College and the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, FACE convened a workshop on ethical challenges in global health fieldwork. The workshop focused both on the moral values of global health as well as the asymmetries and paradoxes embedded in global health practice. It offered an opportunity to explore themes that are important in the lived experience of global health practitioners but rarely described in the professional literature or discourse. The workshop resulted in publication of a Special Section on Global Health Fieldwork Ethics and Human Rights in the June 2019 issue of the Health and Human Rights Journal. 

FACE provides a wide range of consultation services related to ethics and compassion in global health. This includes consulting with programs and organizations on specific ethical challenges; analysis of ethical dilemmas; presentations on compassion and ethics in global health; and consultation on training modules and curricula. Consults range from relatively brief “curb-side” assessments to co-designing interventions and implementing them. A few examples are highlighted below. Contact us to explore how we might provide consultation to your organization.

  • Hilton Humanitarian Prize Coalition

In 2018-2019, FACE consulted with the Hilton Prize Coalition to investigate stress, wellbeing, and burnout among employees of organizations that have been awarded the Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Prize. The final report summarizes our findings and provides resources for employee wellbeing and resilience.

  • International Trachoma Initiative (ITI)

FACE consults with ITI and other partners to improve safety of mass drug administration (MDA) for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This includes safety consultations in countries where NTDs are endemic, observational assessments of safety at the point of drug distribution, and policy work and advocacy to improve safety and reduce unintended harm.

  • Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET)

FACE has consulted on two major projects with TEPHINET. The first is a survey of practicing field epidemiologists to better understand ethical issues that they face. The second project is an ethics module for training front-line veterinary public health officers. View the module.

  • The Task Force for Global Health

FACE provides consultations to programs and leaders at The Task Force, including development of policies; review of ethics-related questions; values discernment exercises; group facilitation; and discussions of moral distress. 

FACE is actively engaged in research that explores and highlights the ethical dimensions of global health. Increasingly, barriers to progress are as much ethical as they are technical. But these two dimensions are inseparable. For example, new technology that can prevent adverse reactions associated with mass drug administration comes with an ethical obligation to use it – but how? Similarly, what is the ethical response when our global health interventions inadvertently cause harm? How do global health practitioners manage ethical challenges such as divided loyalties and moral distress? Some of our current research priorities are described below.

Please see our Publications for a comprehensive list of published materials related to this research. 

  • Equity and Mass Drug Administrations

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are diseases of neglected populations. A primary strategy to control or eliminate NTDs is periodic treatment of at-risk populations with single doses of medication, known as mass drug administration (MDA). MDA reaches more than 1 billion people each year. But to what extent does it reach those most in need? FACE is collaborating with colleagues at Stanford University, UC San Francisco, and the World Health Organization (WHO) to answer this question. Initial findings suggest that, in most countries, deworming is more common in children from wealthier families. 

  • Do No Harm

Many global health interventions yield massive, undeniable health benefits for populations. But they also sometimes result in harm to individuals. How do we weigh these benefits and risks? Who decides? When unintended harm does occur, who – if anyone – assumes responsibility? Our research on preventing and responding to unintended harm currently focuses on three main areas:

– Safety of mass drug administration for neglected tropical diseases

– How global health organizations acknowledge, respond to, and offer apology for unintended harm

– How “seeing the faces” of persons who have been harmed influences ethical decision-making.

  • Moral Distress and Resilience

Moral distress is an experience of serious moral compromise that occurs when we know the “right” thing to do but we are unable to act upon it, often for reasons related to organizational structure, role, or practices. Moral distress has been extensively studied in intensive care units of hospitals, but little is known about moral distress in global health. Our preliminary exploration of moral distress suggests that it affects global health practitioners at all levels – from community drug distributors to CEOs of major global health organizations.

Education and training are central to the work of FACE. FACE staff have adjunct academic appointments at Emory University and the University of Notre Dame. We currently provide internship opportunities for students from Emory University and Johns Hopkins University.

  • Lectures and Presentations

FACE staff participate in educational programs and classes for medical residents, public health students, and nursing students at Emory University, and have given presentations at WHO, the Izumi Foundation, the University of Minnesota, and elsewhere.  

  • Veterinarian Ethics Training Modules

FACE developed an ethics module for training front-line public health veterinarians, which was piloted in Senegal and Uganda and is now available on the TEPHINET website for use by other programs. View module.

  • Fellowships in Public Health and Ethics

FACE currently provides a home for several Emory University graduate students studying public health and ethics as well as opportunities for them to complete practicum projects and theses.  

  • Global Health Ethics (GH 60545)

For the past four years, David Addiss has taught a course in global health ethics as part of the Masters of Science program in global health at the Eck Institute for Global Health, University of Notre Dame. 

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