About

Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI) is a 501(c)(3) international, non-profit organization co-founded in 2011 by Ana Lita, Ph.D. and Charles Debrovner, M.D. GBI is dedicated to fostering public awareness and understanding of bioethical issues, and to exploring solutions to bioethical challenges. Through its events and activities, GBI seeks to keep the international community, policy decision-makers, the media, and the general public informed and aware of important bioethical issues. Such awareness is essential for making informed decisions and fostering public debate. It is through such debate that old practices and beliefs are challenged, and new social norms are formed. Using various platforms, we at GBI are able to promote our motto “Doing bioethics in real life!”
Who We Are

Mission

Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI) is dedicated to fostering public awareness and understanding of bioethical issues, and to exploring solutions to bioethical challenges.

Goals

GBI has established four goals to achieve its mission:

  • To promote interdisciplinary research and provide the public with information pertaining to bioethical issues
  • To engage a broader audience in public debates on emerging medical technologies and their potential impact
  • To collaborate with policy makers, including those at the United Nations (UN) and its agencies to identify solutions to global health problems
  • To encourage international debates at the intersection of health, biotechnology and medicine

 

GBI is a member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations in furthering the realization of the purposes and mandate of the organization through activities and research in shared culture of intellectual social responsibility.

GBI has been associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) since December 2014. DPI aims at facilitating the exchange of information and the development of partnerships within the United Nations as well as with nonprofit organizations around the world. Many of the issues addressed by GBI, including reproductive rights, human organ trafficking, and the ethics of population aging, are important to other United Nations and United Nations-affiliated agencies.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations nominated Global Bioethics Initiative for Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the United Nation’s central platform for debate, reflection, and innovative thinking on sustainable development. GBI is one of only a few organizations to receive such a status. In this capacity, GBI will be able to offer policy recommendations directly to those who craft and initiate legislation and participate in intergovernmental meetings of the United Nations.

Activities

  • GBI organizes panel discussions, conferences, and summer school programs to facilitate public understanding of current bioethical issues. For information about events click here.
  • GBI leverages the knowledge and experience of experts and other professionals in government, academia, and private industry, as well as its Board and Advisory Board members.

Location

With offices at 777 UN Plaza, 5th Floor, New York, New York, 10017, GBI overlooks the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

Collaborations

Research Ethics

The participation of human subjects in research raises important and often complex ethical issues. Protecting the rights of human subjects, e.g. ensuring that subjects’ participation in research is free and appropriately informed, that confidentiality of data and the privacy of participants is adequately safeguarded, and that the burdens and benefits of research are distributed in just ways, is an essential objective of research ethics. Research ethics is also concerned with ensuring that the research conducted is ethically sound and socially valuable, and that it benefits society and not simply particular individuals or powerful groups. GBI’s Research Ethics Project focuses on developing strategies that contribute to the protection of human subjects, the development of biomedical interventions that increase people’s well-being, and the promotion of public trust in science.

Neuroscience and Mental Health

Neuroethics concerns the ethical, legal and social impact of basic and clinical neuroscience, including neurotechnology and its possibilities of altering or predicting human behavior. Examples of this are the ethics of neurocognitive enhancement, the use of drugs and other brain interventions to increase normal people’s capacities, new applications of brain imaging as a putative means of establishing correlations between brain activity and intentional deception, the ethics of stem cell therapy for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, and ethical implications concerning the treatment of comatose or minimally conscious patients. Related to the field of neuroethics are ethical considerations in mental health care. People with mental illness, intellectual disabilities or other cognitive impairment, as well as traumatized refugee and prison populations present with special needs and specific ethical implications for their treatment. GBI provides a platform to discuss these topics based on the latest neuroscientific facts.

Ethics in organ transplantation

One of the most beneficial achievements of modern medicine is organ transplantation, which saves lives and returns individuals with debilitating illnesses back to having productive and fulfilling lives. Organ retrieval and transplants have raised many ethical issues, and since the first kidney transplant in 1954, a growing shortage of organs has led to a daily death of 16-18 patients in the United States alone. Efforts to encourage organ procurement from cadaveric donors, along with extended acceptability of living donations, have not increased the supply of organs nearly enough to satisfy the growing demand worldwide. GBI’s Organ Transplantation and Trafficking project addresses the ethical issues generated by recent and ongoing advances in organ transplantation, the problem of organ supply versus organ demand, procurement policies, global organ trafficking and some possible solutions to organ shortage.

End-of-Life and Health Care

The term euthanasia comes from the Greek word “good” death. Euthanasia is now commonly understood as helping to end the life of persons suffering of incurable illnesses paralleled by pain and debilitating complications. Generally, people discuss “active” euthanasia, in which death is brought about by direct intervention, and “passive” euthanasia, which involves the removal of life-prolonging/sustaining technologies. Active euthanasia involves both “voluntary” euthanasia, in which a patient requests a lethal dose from a physician and then self-administers, and “physician-assisted suicide,” (PAS), in which the doctor, at the request of the patient, administers a lethal injection. According to polls the vast majority of Americans continue to support ‘right-to-die’ laws for terminally ill patients. GBI is concerned with organizing debates to consider legal, public, and policy-related measures aiming at compassionately supporting those faced with the decision whether or not to end their lives.

Ethical Issues Related to Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)

While some policy makers argue over the availability of birth control – a relatively old practice  – advances in reproductive science have moved far beyond in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and the advancement of new technologies (egg and sperm donation, sex selection, surrogate births, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, etc.) raise new and important ethical questions to be addressed. ART have helped millions of infertile couples and individuals who have decided to have children, though the expansion of this technology globally has generated numerous social, ethical, and legal questions and challenges. GBI’s Assisted Reproductive Technologies project addresses the most challenging aspects of ART.

Working with the United Nations

Member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI)

Associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI)

Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)