Special Interest Groups

Pediatric Bioethics Special Interest Group

The group provides a forum to discuss challenges, share ideas and resources, and pursue collaborative relationships.

By Victoria Miller, PhD and Jerilyn Radcliffe, PhD

The Pediatric Bioethics Special Interest Group was created in 2011 to support ethical practice in pediatric psychology as well as research in this area. A variety of ethical challenges can arise in the increasingly complex and fast-paced environment of pediatric healthcare and clinical research.

As pediatric psychologists, we have a unique opportunity to contribute to the ethical debate related to these challenges, through our clinical expertise and empirical research. In particular, the field of pediatric bioethics can be enhanced by the application of psychological science to the empirical study of pediatric bioethics and to ethical dilemmas that arise in the course of clinical care and research. Pediatric psychologists with an interest in bioethics often find themselves operating in multidisciplinary settings (e.g., ethics committees, IRB boards, medical teams, research teams), with exposure to a rich diversity of perspectives related to ethical issues. However, we would also benefit from access to a network of pediatric psychologists with clinical and/or research interests related to bioethics. This Bioethics SIG provides a forum to discuss challenges, share ideas and resources, and pursue collaborative relationships with a community of other pediatric psychologists.

We have three specific goals: to promote a network of researchers and clinicians with an interest in pediatric bioethics in research and/ or clinical settings; to share and distribute resources related to pediatric bioethics; and to raise awareness of the broader SPP community of a) empirical research in pediatric bioethics and implications for clinical practice and research conduct, and b) strategies for addressing ethical dilemmas that arise in clinical and research settings.

The founding co-chairs are Victoria Miller and Jerilynn Radcliffe. Our 39 members are connected through a database to document research and clinical interests and to facilitate networking. Our student representative, Melissa Cousino, facilitates communication with SPP trainee members regarding their ethics-related training needs. Through our SIG listserv, we share information pertinent to pediatric bioethics.

In response to a request, we presented a pre-meeting ethics workshop at the Milwaukee Regional Meeting in April 2012, covering “Conducting Ethical Research in Pediatric Psychology: Collaborative IRB Relationships” (Jerilynn Radcliffe) and “The Ethics of Child Assent: Children’s Participation in Research and Treatment Decision Making” (Victoria Miller).

Our SIG will sponsor a pre-meeting symposium at the National Meeting in New Orleans in April 2013 entitled, “Ethical Challenges in Pediatric Psychology Research and Practice.” The presentations in this symposium will include: “Facilitating Adolescent Medical Decision- Making: The Role of Pediatric Psychologists in Navigating the Unique Ethical Issues” (Sarah Brand, Karen Fasciano, Jennifer W. Mack, Dana- Farber Cancer Institute); “Ethical Challenges in E-Health: The CFfone Social Networking Website” (Alexandra L. Quittner, Sandy L. Romero, Katherine A. McLean, Kristen K. Marciel, & Laura Blackwell, University of Miami); and “Ethical Issues and Guidelines for Conducting Data Analysis in Psychological Research” (Rachel Wasserman, Loyola University, Chicago). We expect this to be a highly informative session.

Our membership approved an election policy so that we have a sound system in place for continued leadership once our terms end in December 2013.

Learn more about Division 54 SIGs, and see a full list of SIG programming at the 2013 National Conference on Pediatric Psychology.