Ethics of Knowledge Translation: One Step Forward

By Darquise Lafrenière, Thierry Hurlimann, Vincent Menuz and Béatrice Godard.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review

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The term knowledge translation refers to the synthesis, exchange, dissemination and ethically sound application of knowledge. According to its supporters, it has the potential to improve best practices in clinical, government, and research settings, and maximize the return on health research investments. As such, knowledge translation has received significant attention from the health research community, especially from funding agencies. This has led to numerous theories and models, such as the knowledge-to-action framework, being designed to guide the creation and implementation of knowledge in practice. However, ethical aspects of knowledge translation remain to be examined. To fill this gap, ethical issues stemming from the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological foundations of knowledge translation, as well as the practical application of the knowledge-to-action framework, are presented in this article. It is suggested that the knowledge-to-action framework should take one step further and consider ethical aspects of knowledge translation by identifying the potential ethical pitfalls at each stage from knowledge creation, dissemination and implementation into healthcare practice.

Keywords: Ethics, Knowledge-to-action Framework, Knowledge Translation

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review, Volume 7, pp.23-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 968.914KB).

Dr. Darquise Lafrenière

Clinical Assistant Professor, OMICS-ETHICS Research Group, Bioethics Programs, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

Darquise Lafrenière is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Montreal and a researcher in the OMICS-ETHICS research group. Her research interests include knowledge translation in health research, especially the use of arts-based methods; research ethics; and ethics and communication.

Thierry Hurlimann

Research Coordinator, OMICS-ETHICS Research Group, Bioethics Programs, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

Thierry Hurlimann is the research coordinator of the OMICS-ETHICS research group at the University of Montreal. He was admitted to the Geneva bar as a lawyer in 1997 and completed an LL.M, specialization in bioethics at McGill University in 2004. He plays an active role as a researcher and critical thinker in the evaluation and development of projects concerning genomics and personalized medicine, notably as they relate to global justice and equity issues in both developed and developing countries.

Dr. Vincent Menuz

Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Centre on Ethics, OMICS-ETHICS Research Group, Bioethics Programs, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

Vincent Menuz is a postdoctoral fellow in the Research Centre on Ethics at the University of Montreal and a member of the OMICS-ETHICS research group. He completed a PhD in biology at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, where he developed a significant expertise in molecular biology, genetics and genomics. His current work focuses on the ethical and social issues of human enhancement, as well as anti-aging interventions.

Dr. Béatrice Godard

Professor, OMICS-ETHICS Research Group, Bioethics Programs, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

Béatrice Godard is a Professor in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Montreal and directs the OMICS-ETHICS research group. Her current research work explores emerging ethical responsibilities where research and the clinic intersect. She is also engaged in seeking to better understand prevailing attitudes and behaviours regarding genomic research.