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Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


16: Peace, Justice, and strong institutions

Claudia Emerson is upholding ethical standards in global health research, to promote sustainable societies based on inclusive, just and accountable institutions.


Claudia Emerson, Associate Professor, Philosophy



As vaccine tests, genetic selection science and clinical drug trials move at breakneck speed to address some of the most pressing health issues facing humanity, it’s never been more important to explore all the ethical issues related to these breakthroughs.

Before the modern era of medicine, some human infection testing had been exploitive, risky and even involuntary. Accountability could easily take a back seat to expedience.

Not any more. Certainly not on Claudia Emerson’s watch.

Emerson, the director of McMaster’s Institute on Ethics & Policy for Innovation, is a global expert on the ethics of health research, and through her work, holds both science and government accountable.

Some of her most recent work has involved an urgent initiative to establish World Health Organization guidelines for human challenge studies – clinical trials where healthy human volunteers are given a test vaccine and then infected with the pandemic virus.


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