APRU Global Health Mini Certificate in Health Research Ethics for Students 2023

The APRU Global Health Mini Certificate in Health Research Ethics is a free virtual and interactive training designed for students with limited backgrounds in research ethics. Join students from around the world to develop competencies to conduct ethical health research.

The 12-hour course includes lectures taught in English by six world-renowned bioethicists as speakers plus 30 experts to facilitate breakout sessions and small group discussions on case studies, with self-paced online homework.


Proper training in the conduct of ethics involved in medical and health research with human subjects is to ensuring that students conduct research ethically. However, some universities in the Asia-Pacific region do not incorporate ethics training as part of their public health curricula. Meanwhile, the pandemic has forced most of the world’s higher education institutions to conduct teaching, research, and learning activities remotely. 

This mini-certificate training is offered by the APRU Global Health Working Group on Bioethics.

Learning Objectives

  • Outline the main principles that guide the ethical conduct of research with human subjects
  • Describe some of the historical cases of unethical research with human subjects which have led to the need for more human subject protection.
  • Explain the importance of community participation in health research
  • Analyze real-world cases of ethical challenges in health research
  • Describe best practices in ethical health research and practice to protect human subjects
  • Identify major documents, protocol and systems in place to ensure adherence to ethical principles in health research.
  • Discuss the function of IRB/RECs

Download a flyer here.


Please register here before August 10, 2023

(Registration is now closed to students from Hong Kong and the Philippines due to the high demand and to ensure a diverse group of trainees.)


  • The training is free of charge and exclusive for APRU undergraduate and graduate students. Find out if you are from an APRU member university here.
  • Due to the high demand, we will use a quota system per economy to have a diverse cohort suitable for the program. 
  • The APRU Global Health Program reserves the rights of the final decision on application acceptance.
  • The training will be conducted in English via Zoom in three sessions, 2 hours each. Students will  be required to complete online exercises in between the sessions.
  • Those who successfully complete all live session hours plus the required “homework” will receive a certificate of participation.
Time & Program

Date & Time (time converter)

  • August 24 at 6-8 pm (PST)/ August 25 at 9-11 am (UTC+8)
  • August 31 at 6-8 pm (PST)/ September 1 at 9-11 am (UTC+8)
  • September 7 at 6-8 pm (PST)/ September 8 at 9-11 am (UTC+8)

Duration: 2 hours for each session.


Each session consists of two lectures, which include a 20-minute talk by an expert speaker, followed by small virtual breakout rooms for 30 minutes for students to discuss case studies and/or complete interactive exercises that will help concretize the key concepts.

See the program here.

Mellissa Withers (Moderator)
University of Southern California

Mellissa Withers, PhD, MHS is Associate Professor at the Keck School of Medicine in the Department of Preventive Medicine. She is based at the University of Southern California Institute on Inequalities in Global Health. She also is also Director of the Global Health Program of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, a non-profit network of 56 universities. She received a PhD from the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health with a minor in cultural anthropology. She also holds a Master’s in International Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in international development from UC Berkeley. Her research interests lie in community participatory research, mental health, gender-based violence, immigrant health, and global sexual and reproductive health. Dr Withers is the editor of two books: Global Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health Across the Lifecourse, and Global Health Leadership: Case Studies from the Asia-Pacific (in press). She has also published more than 40 scientific articles and serves on the editorial boards of six international global health journals. She also writes a blog on human trafficking titled Modern-Day Slavery for Psychology Today.

Angus Dawson (Speaker)
National University of Singapore

Angus Dawson is a Professor of Bioethics at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics (CBmE) at National University of Singapore. He has worked previously at universities in the UK, Canada and Australia. His main research interests are in public health ethics, research ethics, and methodology in bioethics. Angus’s work is increasingly focused on working with organisations to embed ethics into policy and everyday practice. He is currently writing a series of papers about key concepts in public health including solidarity, community, and trust as well as working on projects on Antimicrobial Resistance, Vaccine Prioritisation and the Ethics of Migration. Dr Dawson is the joint editor-in-Chief of the journal Public Health Ethics and was one of the editors of the casebook Global Perspectives on Public Health Ethics.

Leonardo D. De Castro (Speaker)
University of the Philippines

Leonardo D. De Castro (PhD) is a professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, where he previously served as Department Chair for 9 years. He was Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Biomedical Ethics, National University of Singapore and Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Bioethics Review from 2008 to 2016. He chairs the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board, the agency responsible for promoting ethical health research in the country. Dr De Castro has served on the National Bioethics Advisory Committee and the National Transplant Ethics Committee. He has been President of the Asian Bioethics Association, Vice Chair of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee, Vice Chair of the Forum for Ethics Review Committees in Asia and the Pacific, and a Bioethics Consultant to the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the European Union and the European Commission. He represented the Philippines in the UNESCO Inter-Governmental Bioethics Committee.

Sharon Kaur (Speaker)
University of Malaya

Sharon Kaur (LLB, MA, PhD) is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, where she has designed modules on healthcare law and ethics for undergraduate as well as postgraduate students. She also teaches on the Masters of Health Research Ethics (MOHRE) programme at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya. Her research interests primarily revolved around medical research ethics and issues relating to the rights of marginalised populations. She is currently working on a number of projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of which relates to the challenges of data sharing in a middle-income country. Her postgraduate training was in Medical Law and Medical Ethics and her doctoral thesis addressed the role of research ethics committees in relation to clinical trials involving mentally incapacitated adults.

Gabriela Arguedas (Speaker)
Universidad de Costa Rica

Gabriela Arguedas-Ramírez is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Women`s Studies at the Universidad de Costa Rica, where she teaches Bioethics and Feminist Topics. In 2015, as part of an alliance between the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and the Women’s Studies Research Center (CIEM) at the University of Costa Rica, she presented the results of her research on obstetric violence in Costa Rica, in a thematic audience for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. As a result of her research on obstetric violence, gender and human rights, she created the Reproductive Rights Observatory at the CIEM, University of Costa Rica. She has published articles about the ethics of genetic patents, obstetric power/violence, ecofeminism, religious fundamentalism and sexual rights. Her publications include a forthcoming Spanish translation of Dr. Steven Miles’s Doctors Who Torture: The Pursue of Justice (Universidad de Costa Rica Press, 2021), and Situación de los Derechos Humanos de Poblaciones Históricamente Discriminadas en Costa Rica (Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos, 2013), co-authored with Professor Monterrat Sagot.

Ricardo Alfonso Peña Silva (Speaker)
Universidad de los Andes

Ricardo A. Peña Silva, MD, PhD is an associate professor at Universidad de los Andes Faculty of Medicine. He is a pharmacologist with a passion for biomedical research and education. Since the age of 16, he has:

-being actively involved in education, from secondary school to postgraduate education in the health sciences.

-engaged in biomedical research exploring the effects of aging and inflammation on cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease.

He has worked in higher education administration, in the accreditation of academic programs, and managing research productivity programs.

Three personal observations orient his interests in education and research:

1) All countries have talented people. Managing opportunities to exploit those talents is key to human and economic development.

2) Developing countries have significant functional literacy problems that impact subjects’ performance, regardless of their academic training level. The functional illiteracy in a segment of the population also makes them more susceptible to poor health outcomes.

3) Critical and innovative thinking, fostered by education and research, is key to the growth of communities, institutions, and health systems. The accelerated changes brought about by information technologies and the industrial revolution 4.0 can shrink the productivity gap between developing and developed countries if properly managed and implemented.

Bridget Haire
University of New South Wales

Dr. Bridget Haire is a senior research fellow at the Kirby Institute, University of NSW and an associate of the Australian Human Rights Institute. She is trained in bioethics, and conducts research in the areas of research ethics, public health, sexual health and infectious diseases. Bridget also convenes UNSW’s research ethics panel on health, medical, community and social research. She has published extensively on HIV prevention, and is a former president of Australia’s peak body for the community response to HIV. She is committed to conducting research in partnership with affected communities. Bridget has also published on the ethical issues in the control of Ebola and COVID-19. Her recent COVID-19 related research includes a study on the impacts of hotel quarantine, an evaluation of the COVIDSafe App and the human rights implications of vaccine mandates and passports.


Dr. Mellissa Withers at [email protected]