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Ethical behavior in science and health care-related research is a worldwide concern. The goal of this initiative was to develop research ethics leaders in Southeast Asia to meet the emerging research and health system evaluation demands of societies undergoing rapid transition. An R25 grant from the US National Institutes of Health allowed scholars from academic biomedical institutions in Thailand and Vietnam to conduct anonymous needs assessment surveys and receive training from professors at Stanford University and the Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center.

The training program delivered a 2-year Masters level curriculum that included onsite, online, and annual regional meetings. Scholars regularly discussed cases that addressed key issues in the responsible conduct of research. These issues included regulatory basics in Thailand and Vietnam, international guidelines and policies, aspects of human subjects research such as use of placebo or sham controls, informed consent and community engagement, the use of human biological materials and medical records, data sharing, ancillary care responsibilities to research participants in low- and middle-income countries, conflicts of interest and academic-industry research partnerships in multi-national clinical studies, research integrity and reproducibility, intellectual property, and authorship responsibilities. The course also discussed the concept of societal responsibility and what that meant in the context of trainees’ local environments and cultures, as well as identified and addressed institutional structures, incentives, and cultural factors that facilitated or hindered researchers’ responsible conduct of research. Finally, the course addressed elements of study design to enhance reproducibility of research and research processes and institutional factors that affect rigor and reproducibility.

Over four years, the program laid the groundwork for developing regional capacity by training 14 emerging leaders in research ethics. Scholars with RN, PhD, MPH, MD, and PharmD degrees represented 7 universities: Mahidol University, Burapha University, Silpakorn University, Naresuan University in Thailand, and Hanoi Medical University, Ho-Chi-Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy, and Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Vietnam. Eight of the 14 trainees were women. During the training period, this initiative was the only NIH program serving Southeast Asia to build capacity in research ethics.  

Additional materials for this NIH Fogarty-sponsored initiative are available at the informational website for the Asia Collaborative for Medical Education (ACME) and the Research Ethics Improvement Network (REIN). This website offers video recordings and presentation slides from the learning sessions for public viewing in order to promote understanding of the importance of ethical behavior in research.


The Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center first proposed a new pay-for-performance model introducing quality monitoring and outcome evaluation into the reimbursement system with the advent of Taiwan's National Health Insurance in 1995. This proposal received official support from the Bureau of National Health Insurance in 2001 as a pilot project. The pilot introduced 15 quality indicators for various phases of treatment for breast cancer. By 2005, it became apparent that this innovative approach, which preceded other pay-for-performance initiatives worldwide, conferred statistically significant cancer survival benefit when full adherence to quality indicators was observed. 

The Center for Healthcare Improvement collaborated with Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School to study KFSYSCC's breast cancer care model and pay-for-performance reimbursement program within the context of Taiwan's medical system and the universal health insurance system. These findings were published as a Harvard Business School Case Study in 2009.


The Medical News Awards were launched in 2007 to recognize journalism professionalism, ethics, and medical news report quality. Our hope is that the media will do its best to fulfill its social responsibility to disseminate accurate medical information and promote quality medical care. 

Past recipients:

  • "Drug Allergies: Must-Know Adverse Effects" (藥物過敏: 不可不知的藥害)

  • "Pursuing the Lost Love" (追尋失落的大愛)

  • "Taiwan Epidemic Prevention Story" (台灣防疫故事)

  • "Independent Commissioner" (獨立特派員)

  • "I Want to Grow Up Healthily" (我要健康長大)

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