Professor Sienna Craig: Clinical Trials in Tibet

(This meeting happened on March 5th; my apologies for the late post!)

The Nathan Smith Society hosted a meeting with undergraduate and medical students in which Sienna Craig of the Anthropology department discussed her work in Tibet. (I didn’t quite catch the context of the meeting; I think that there’s some sort of undergraduate pre-med or philosophy club that’s interested in bioethics.) Professor Craig spoke mostly about her PhD research, during which she participated in the creation of the first IRB-like institution in Tibet. At part of this project, she was assisting in a clinical trial comparing the efficacy of a traditional Tibetan medicine (zhi byed 11) with the common uterotonic misoprostol. During her presentation, Professor Craig brought up many interesting questions about the ethics of executing clinical trials in countries that have little experience with Western research paradigms, problems with translation that occur in these settings, and the ways in which medicine interacts with culture. However, there was very little time for discussion; these questions went largely unanswered.