APRU Global Health Mini Certificate in Health Research Ethics for Students 2023

The APRU Global Health Mini Certificate in Health Research Ethics is a free virtual and interactive training designed for students with limited backgrounds in research ethics. Join students from around the world to develop competencies to conduct ethical health research.

The course includes lectures taught in English by six world-renowned bioethicists as speakers plus 30 experts to facilitate breakout sessions and small group discussions on case studies, with self-paced online homework.


Proper training in the conduct of ethics involved in medical and health research with human subjects is to ensuring that students conduct research ethically. However, some universities in the Asia-Pacific region do not incorporate ethics training as part of their public health curricula. Meanwhile, the pandemic has forced most of the world’s higher education institutions to conduct teaching, research, and learning activities remotely. 

This mini-certificate training is offered by the APRU Global Health Working Group on Bioethics.

Learning Objectives

  • Outline the main principles that guide the ethical conduct of research with human subjects
  • Describe some of the historical cases of unethical research with human subjects which have led to the need for more human subject protection.
  • Explain the importance of community participation in health research
  • Analyze real-world cases of ethical challenges in health research
  • Describe best practices in ethical health research and practice to protect human subjects
  • Identify major documents, protocol and systems in place to ensure adherence to ethical principles in health research.
  • Discuss the function of IRB/RECs

Download a flyer here.


Please register here before August 10, 2023

(Registration is now closed to students from Hong Kong, the Philippines, United States and Singapore due to the high demand and to ensure a diverse group of trainees.)


  • The training is free of charge and exclusive for APRU undergraduate and graduate students. Find out if you are from an APRU member university here.
  • Due to the high demand, we will use a quota system per economy to have a diverse cohort suitable for the program. 
  • The APRU Global Health Program reserves the rights of the final decision on application acceptance.
  • The training will be conducted in English via Zoom in three sessions, 2 hours each. Students will  be required to complete online exercises in between the sessions.
  • Those who successfully complete all live session hours plus the required “homework” will receive a certificate of participation.
Time & Program

Date & Time (time converter)

  • August 24 at 6-8 pm (PST)/ August 25 at 9-11 am (UTC+8)
  • August 31 at 6-8 pm (PST)/ September 1 at 9-11 am (UTC+8)
  • September 7 at 6-8 pm (PST)/ September 8 at 9-11 am (UTC+8)

Duration: 2 hours for each session.


Each session consists of two lectures, which include a 20-minute talk by an expert speaker, followed by small virtual breakout rooms for 30 minutes for students to discuss case studies and/or complete interactive exercises that will help concretize the key concepts.

See the program here.

Mellissa Withers (Moderator)
University of Southern California

Mellissa Withers, PhD, MHS is Associate Professor at the Keck School of Medicine in the Department of Preventive Medicine. She is based at the University of Southern California Institute on Inequalities in Global Health. She also is also Director of the Global Health Program of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, a non-profit network of 56 universities. She received a PhD from the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health with a minor in cultural anthropology. She also holds a Master’s in International Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in international development from UC Berkeley. Her research interests lie in community participatory research, mental health, gender-based violence, immigrant health, and global sexual and reproductive health. Dr Withers is the editor of two books: Global Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health Across the Lifecourse, and Global Health Leadership: Case Studies from the Asia-Pacific (in press). She has also published more than 40 scientific articles and serves on the editorial boards of six international global health journals. She also writes a blog on human trafficking titled Modern-Day Slavery for Psychology Today.

Angus Dawson (Speaker)
National University of Singapore

Angus Dawson is a Professor of Bioethics at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics (CBmE) at National University of Singapore. He has worked previously at universities in the UK, Canada and Australia. His main research interests are in public health ethics, research ethics, and methodology in bioethics. Angus’s work is increasingly focused on working with organisations to embed ethics into policy and everyday practice. He is currently writing a series of papers about key concepts in public health including solidarity, community, and trust as well as working on projects on Antimicrobial Resistance, Vaccine Prioritisation and the Ethics of Migration. Dr Dawson is the joint editor-in-Chief of the journal Public Health Ethics and was one of the editors of the casebook Global Perspectives on Public Health Ethics.

Leonardo D. De Castro (Speaker)
University of the Philippines

Leonardo D. De Castro (PhD) is a professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, where he previously served as Department Chair for 9 years. He was Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Biomedical Ethics, National University of Singapore and Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Bioethics Review from 2008 to 2016. He chairs the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board, the agency responsible for promoting ethical health research in the country. Dr De Castro has served on the National Bioethics Advisory Committee and the National Transplant Ethics Committee. He has been President of the Asian Bioethics Association, Vice Chair of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee, Vice Chair of the Forum for Ethics Review Committees in Asia and the Pacific, and a Bioethics Consultant to the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the European Union and the European Commission. He represented the Philippines in the UNESCO Inter-Governmental Bioethics Committee.

Sharon Kaur (Speaker)
University of Malaya

Sharon Kaur (LLB, MA, PhD) is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, where she has designed modules on healthcare law and ethics for undergraduate as well as postgraduate students. She also teaches on the Masters of Health Research Ethics (MOHRE) programme at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya. Her research interests primarily revolved around medical research ethics and issues relating to the rights of marginalised populations. She is currently working on a number of projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of which relates to the challenges of data sharing in a middle-income country. Her postgraduate training was in Medical Law and Medical Ethics and her doctoral thesis addressed the role of research ethics committees in relation to clinical trials involving mentally incapacitated adults.

Gabriela Arguedas (Speaker)
Universidad de Costa Rica

Gabriela Arguedas-Ramírez is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Women`s Studies at the Universidad de Costa Rica, where she teaches Bioethics and Feminist Topics. In 2015, as part of an alliance between the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and the Women’s Studies Research Center (CIEM) at the University of Costa Rica, she presented the results of her research on obstetric violence in Costa Rica, in a thematic audience for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. As a result of her research on obstetric violence, gender and human rights, she created the Reproductive Rights Observatory at the CIEM, University of Costa Rica. She has published articles about the ethics of genetic patents, obstetric power/violence, ecofeminism, religious fundamentalism and sexual rights. Her publications include a forthcoming Spanish translation of Dr. Steven Miles’s Doctors Who Torture: The Pursue of Justice (Universidad de Costa Rica Press, 2021), and Situación de los Derechos Humanos de Poblaciones Históricamente Discriminadas en Costa Rica (Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos, 2013), co-authored with Professor Monterrat Sagot.

Bridget Haire
University of New South Wales

Dr. Bridget Haire is a senior research fellow at the Kirby Institute, University of NSW and an associate of the Australian Human Rights Institute. She is trained in bioethics, and conducts research in the areas of research ethics, public health, sexual health and infectious diseases. Bridget also convenes UNSW’s research ethics panel on health, medical, community and social research. She has published extensively on HIV prevention, and is a former president of Australia’s peak body for the community response to HIV. She is committed to conducting research in partnership with affected communities. Bridget has also published on the ethical issues in the control of Ebola and COVID-19. Her recent COVID-19 related research includes a study on the impacts of hotel quarantine, an evaluation of the COVIDSafe App and the human rights implications of vaccine mandates and passports.

Alex Phang Kean Chang (Moderator)
Universiti Malaya

Dr. Alex Phang Kean Chang is a clinical scientist by profession who earns a Ph.D. in Pathology, and dual master’s degrees in Health Research Ethics and Medical Sciences (Pathology), besides holding a bachelor’s degree in Biohealth Science. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pathology, Universiti Malaya as well as serving as the Secretary (Manager) at the University of Malaya Medical Centre-Medical Research Ethics Committee.

His primary research interest includes molecular tests for cancer diagnosis, digital pathology, cancer & cell therapy as well as the discovery of novel biomarkers for diagnosis. In the field of research ethics, Dr. Phang received several ethics-related pieces of training and fellowships from the World Health Organization, Department of Bioethics, NIH United States, and WCG IRB-New York University Langone Health. He has a great interest in researching the ethical issues surrounding emerging technologies and epidemic ethics as well as the quality improvement of IRB’s services to ensure the protection of human subjects in health research. Besides teaching academic subjects in pathology, he is also one of the faculty members for the Master of Health Research Ethics (MOHRE). He is appointed as an affiliate member of the Academy Sciences of Malaysia (YSN-ASM) since the year 2020.

Ricardo Alfonso Peña Silva (Speaker)
Universidad de los Andes

Ricardo A. Peña Silva, MD, PhD is an associate professor at Universidad de los Andes Faculty of Medicine. He is a pharmacologist with a passion for biomedical research and education. Since the age of 16, he has been actively involved in education, from secondary school to postgraduate education in the health sciences, and engaged in biomedical research exploring the effects of aging and inflammation on cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease.

He has worked in higher education administration, in the accreditation of academic programs, and managed research productivity programs. Three personal observations orient his interests in education and research: 1) All countries have talented people. Managing opportunities to exploit those talents is key to human and economic development. 2) Developing countries have significant functional literacy problems that impact subjects’ performance, regardless of their academic training level. The functional illiteracy in a segment of the population also makes them more susceptible to poor health outcomes. 3) Critical and innovative thinking, fostered by education and research, is key to the growth of communities, institutions, and health systems. The accelerated changes brought about by information technologies and the industrial revolution 4.0 can shrink the productivity gap between developing and developed countries if properly managed and implemented.

Nenita Baltazar-Panaligan (Moderator)
Cavite State University

Nenita Baltazar-Panaligan is a Registered Nurse in the Philippines and Associate Professor at Cavite State University College of Nursing (CvSU- CON), supervising nursing and allied health undergraduate students. Prof. Panaligan handles professional courses on Research, Nursing Leadership and Management, Maternal and Child Care, and Community Health Nursing. She served as the first Clinical Coordinator and an Acting Dean of the CvSU CON, and managed the Research and Development Unit of the college. She is also involved in monitoring and supervision of the research and projects, ethical reviews and research linkages of the university. She has also served on the CvSU Ethics Review Board (ERB) and is an External /Medical Member of the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute Independent Ethics Committee (IEC).

Prior to joining CvSU, Prof. Panaligan received her Master of Arts in Nursing degree major in Nursing Administration from the University of Santo Tomas and is pursuing her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing at University of the Philippines Manila. She is also a member of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Region IV-A Consortium Research Management Committee. As current president of the Philippine Nurses Association Cavite Chapter, much of her work focuses on promoting nurses’ welfare, social relevance and development. She is also the president of the Philippine Nursing Research Society Cavite Cell. Most of her research and extension works are focused on maternal and child care, community and public health, ethics, disaster research, gender and development, nursing education, administration and policy development.

Sanjay Rampal (Moderator)
Universiti Malaya

Sanjay Rampal is a Public Health Physician, and Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya. Dr Rampal was medically trained in India and has served in the Ministry of Health Malaysia (1998-2005). He obtained his MPH in 2004 from Harvard University and completed his PhD in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University in 2014. He is a member of the Global Network for Academic Public Health, Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, and chairs the Specialty/Subspecialty Education Subcommittee for Public Health within the Malaysian Medical Council. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Malaysia and contributes actively to the College of Public Health Medicine. He had also previously chaired the Malaysian National Conjoint Committee for Public Health Postgraduate Medical Program.

Dr Rampal’s research focuses on the epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular disease. He is particularly interested in elucidating common upstream factors of the different Non-Communicable Diseases. He hopes to further leverage this information to design and implement better prevention programs to improve our healthcare system.

King L Chow, PhD (Moderator)
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

King L Chow, PhD, as a Professor of Life Science, Chemical & Biological Engineering, serves as the Director of Interdisciplinary Programs Office overseeing Environment and Sustainability, Public Policy, Risk Management, Technology Management and various innovation programs at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He heads the Dean of Students Office supporting various student-oriented schemes beyond academic issues, including exchange program, career development and experiential learning. While his research focuses on genetics, development, evolution and synthetic biology, he engages in various teaching pedagogy initiatives and curricular development projects, teaches project courses, experiential courses, online courses; spearheads liberal arts and interdisciplinary education at the juncture cutting across science, engineering, social science and humanity at both UG and PG levels. He was the inaugural School of Science Teaching Award winner and was awarded the Michael G. Gale Medal of distinguished teaching at HKUST.

Catherine Zhou (Moderator)
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Catherine Zhou, PhD is a Teaching Associate at the Office of the Dean of Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Prior to this she worked at the Centre for Learning Enhancement And Research at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She has a PhD degree in computer science and engineering and currently focuses on research postgraduate student education. Her teaching and research interests include research integrity, emotional resilience and intelligence, and mentorship. She is in charge of the research postgraduate student professional development program within the School of Engineering. Catherine is interested in student-centered teaching and learning strategies, such as e-learning, blended learning, flipped classroom, and experiential learning.

Jonathan R. Guillemot (Moderator)
Universidad San Francisco de Quito

Jonathan R. Guillemot, MA, MSc, PhD is a professor and researcher in gerontology at Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ, Ecuador. He currently acts as Associate Dean of the School of Medicine, in charge of research and administrative affairs. He is also Director of the Institute for Social Medicine & Global Challenges. Guillemot’s research interests include the sociology of ageing and research pedagogy, using qualitative approaches, with particular focus on semi-structured interviews and Delphi panels. He is especially fond of collaborating with students on their first encounter with research, with one recent paper encapsulating such interest: Medical education from the point of view of medical students: Results from four participatory Delphi panels in Quito. Guillemot graduated from Université de Lille (Sciences Po Lille) in political sociology and from King’s College London in gerontology and completed his PhD in global health, social medicine and gerontology.

Alexandra Belle Bernal (Moderator)
University of the Philippines

Alexandra Belle S. Bernal, MOHRE, RN is a University Research Associate (URA) at the University of the Philippines Manila’s College of Nursing (UPCN). She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the same university. A recipient of scholarship support from the National Institutes of Health-Fogarty International Center, she earned her Master of Health Research Ethics degree from Universiti Malaya in Malaysia, as part of a collaborative master’s program run by the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya and the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. 

She previously served as the Senior Telehealth Nurse at the National Telehealth Center, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila, along with being an Emergency Operating Room Nurse at the Philippine General Hospital-University of the Philippines. Her research interests revolve around nursing informatics, perioperative nursing, patient safety strategies, and ethical health and health-related research.

She currently serves on several university bodies, including the UPM Health and Safety Committee, the Research Screening and Review Section of the Institutional Biosafety and Biosecurity Committee, UP Manila, as well as a clinical educator in the operating theatre for UPCN undergraduate students. With her career development, she aspires to eventually become a member of her institution’s faculty.

Mariam Davtyan (Moderator)
University of Southern California

Mariam Davtyan is an Assistant Professor of Research Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC) and has been studying HIV/AIDS for more than 15 years. Since 2005, she has conducted pediatric and adult HIV/AIDS research studies at the LAC+USC Maternal, Child & Adolescent/Adult Center (MCA Center) for Infectious Diseases and Virology, focusing on the effects of antiretroviral medications (ARVs) on children and pregnant women. She is the founder and liaison of the MCA Center’s English-speaking Community Advisory Board (CAB), a forum consisting of women of color living with HIV who provide critical feedback on clinical services and community needs. Dr. Davtyan’s work with the CAB inspired her to study HIV-associated stigma, a significant stressor with many devastating social, physical and psychological consequences. Since 2012, her research has also focused on HIV-associated stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings and within provider-patient interactions, as well as the impact of internalized HIV stigma on social and health outcomes.

She has received multiple grants from the University of California Global Health Institute, the University of California Irvine’s Newkirk Center for Science and Society, the Clinical Translational Science Institute at USC, and the Health Resources and Services Administration to support her research agenda. Her most recent work includes examining the impact of photo-stories on internalized HIV stigma and engagement in care in chronically non-adherent patients, appraising the association between internalized HIV stigma and ARV adherence and viral suppression in women of color, assessing resilience factors such as mindfulness, personal mastery and social support in long-term HIV survivors, and evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on the day-to-day lives of older adults living with HIV in the Coachella Valley.

Dr. Davtyan’s research has been exhibited at many professional conferences, including the United States Conference on HIV/AIDS, the International Conference on Stigma at Howard University, the American Public Health Association Expo, and the International AIDS Conference.

María de Jesús Medina-Arellano (Moderator)
National Autonomous University of Mexico

María de Jesús Medina-Arellano, PhD obtained her law degree from the Autonomous University of Nayarit, Mexico (2004). In January 2008 she graduated with the equivalent of an MPhil at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). During her postgraduate degree she focused on the new paradigm of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights in Mexico. She obtained her PhD in Bioethics and Medical Jurisprudence in July, 2012, from the School of Law (Centre for Social Ethics and Policy and the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation) at the University of Manchester. Her PhD research focused on the regulation of stem cell research in developing countries (Mexico as a case study). From 2013-2014, Maria worked as Deputy of the Judicial School in the Local Court of Justice in Nayarit. Since September 2014 she has been a full-time researcher at the Institute for Legal Research at UNAM. Since January 2015, she has also been the Deputy of the College of Bioethics, a civil association in Mexico that gathers scientist and physicians working in the area of bioethics from practical and academic perspectives. Since April 2017, she has been a member of the advisory board at the National Commission of Bioethics in Mexico (CONBIOÉTICA). Since January 2016, she has coordinated the Diploma on Bioethics, Health and Law which is offered in the Institute for Legal Research.

Alexander Atrio L. Lopez (Moderator)
University of the Philippines

Alexander Atrio L. Lopez just passed his MA Philosophy thesis defense in the University of the Philippines Diliman where he also graduated with a BA Philosophy degree as summa cum laude and valedictory speaker. His first degree is BS Basic Medical Sciences from UP Manila, and he is about to enter the Ateneo de Manila School of Law. He is published in bioethics, philosophy and video games, and philosophy for children. He was a philosophy instructor in UP Diliman, a microeconomics Coursera teaching assistant, and a freelance writer.

Honey Libertine Achanzar-Labor (Moderator)
University of the Philippines

Honey Libertine Achanzar-Labor is Professor at the University of the Philippines Manila and Program Coordinator of its BA Philippine Arts – Cultural Heritage and Arts Management Program. She received her BA Humanities (Pre-Medicine track) degree from the University of the Philippines, completed the MS Medical Anthropology coursework, and has a doctorate in Philippine Studies from the Asian Center in the same university, with a dissertation anchored on Anthropology of Art. She is a regular member of her university’s Research Ethics Board (UPREB), and a UP Centennial and One UP Professorial Chair Awardee. She was also named as University Artist by the UP system under the lens of its Arts Productivity Program, acknowledging her contribution in creative research, publication, and promotion of cultural heritage. She also served as Director of UP Manila’s Office of Student Affairs from 2011-2014. Her research interests include Southeast Asian Art, Anthropology of Art, and Medical Anthropology. Her most recent publications include a chapter in the Scopus-indexed book Religious Tourism in Asia: Tradition and Change Through Case Studies (Oxford: CABI, 2018), and journal articles: “Calle Faura: Cultural Heritage Amidst Conflict in Ermita, Manila” in The Calle Faura Journal 2017; 7-9 (ISBN 2599-4298) and “The Ibaloi of Benguet as Active Agents in Health Negotiations” in Philippine Journal of Health Research and Development (2018). As a response to the Marawi siege, she convened the conference, The Lost and the Retrieved: Cultural Heritage Amidst Conflict in 2017 and is Founding Executive Director of The Faura Project, Inc.

Akira Shibanuma (Moderator)
The University of Tokyo

Akira Shibanuma has carried out community health and economic research in resource-limiting settings for eight years. He is based in the Graduate School of Medicine at The University of Tokyo and conducts positive deviance research in Cambodia. His specialties are hygiene and public health, applied health sciences, and development economics.

Michael Mendoza (Moderator)
University of the Philippines

Dr. Michael Antonio F. Mendoza is a dentist by profession.  His research interests in public health and health policy has made him involved in consultancy work with different government agencies and developmental partners in the Philippines.  As an Associate Professor from the Department of Community Dentistry of the College of Dentistry at the University of the Philippines Manila, he handles dental public health and research courses, and mentors dentistry students on their research projects.

Ann Toh (Moderator)
National University of Singapore

Dr. Ann Toh works as a home hospice physician delivering family-centred whole person care to children with life-threatening, life-limiting illness in StarPALS, HCA Hospice Care. She also serves as a volunteer physician and advocate for vulnerable people groups. Ann serves a clinician-educator for the School of Medicine, National University of Singapore and is actively involved in shaping undergraduate curriculum in the areas of community-based education for social determinants of health, social accountability, interprofessional education and compassion training. She has initiated and continues to nurture a local community of practice on Humanism & Humanities in Healthcare and has developed an innovative educational model for service-learning using approaches grounded in Rogerian educational philosophy to nurture the next generation of compassionate healers of tomorrow. Within academia, Ann advocates for compassionate whole person care through pursuing the development of research in medical education, applied health services research & community-based patient-centred models of care.

Indri Hapsari Susilowati (Moderator)
Universitas Indonesia

Indri Hapsari Susilowati graduated from the Faculty of Public Health, Universitas Indonesia (UI), majoring in Occupational Health and Safety in 1999 (Bachelor degree) and 2008 (Master degree). She earned her Ph.D. in Human Science Design from Kyushu University Japan in 2012. Her interest research in ergonomics, human factors, aging, and safe transportation. She is currently the Head of Occupational Health and Safety Department, Faculty of Public Health, Universitas Indonesia, since 2016. She is also teaching Law and Ethics in Health courses in Health Cluster Science, Universitas Indonesia. In this course, students are taught to understand health problems with bioethical principles, both clinical/personal and community / public health. This course is attended by students from the UI Faculty of Public Health, Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, and Pharmacy. She has achieved numerous awards at international conferences and has many publications in international and national journals. She also is writing a book about Indonesian Fall Risk Assessment Tools (I-FRAT) and Health Promotion in the Workplace.

Nina T. Castillo-Carandang (Moderator)
University of the Philippines

Nina T. Castillo-Carandang MA, MSc, PhD is a professor of health sociology and global health in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila (UPM). Professor Castillo-Carandang also has academic qualifications in clinical epidemiology and health social science. She is an active researcher on Kagalingan (wellbeing, and the sociocultural dimensions of health and health care; and is also a member of the UPM Research Ethics Board.

Jeffrey Lee (Moderator)
Sibu Hospital, Sarawak, Malaysia

Dr Jeffrey Lee graduated with a degree of Doctor of Medicine from the National University of Malaysia in 2011. He obtained his Master of Health Research Ethics from the University of Malaya in 2022. Currently he is working in the Clinical Research Centre of Sibu Hospital, Sarawak, Malaysia. His primary research interest is in paediatric medicine and neonatology, besides having a keen interest in paediatric clinical ethics.

Leander Penaso Marquez (Moderator)
University of the Philippines

Leander Penaso Marquez is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He currently holds a graduate degree in Philosophy and another one in Education. He has published a number of articles in local and international journals as well as presented some of his research papers in various conferences in Asia and Europe. He has facilitated trainings of teachers in the teaching of subjects such as “Introduction to the Philosophy of the Human Person” and “Trends, Networks, and Critical Thinking in the 21st Century Culture”. Incidentally, he has also authored a textbook on the latter under the same title. Leander sits as co-chair of the Bioethics Working Group of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities Global Health Program (APRU-GHP). He is also serving as Junior Ambassador to the Philippines for the Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN). His research interests include Ethics, Epistemology, Philosophy for Children, Philosophy of Education, and Philosophy and Popular Culture.

Varaalakshmy Gokilavanan (Moderator)
Clinical Research Center of Hospital Kuala Lumpur

Dr. Varaalakshmy Gokilavanan is a Medical Officer currently attached to the Clinical Research Center of Hospital Kuala Lumpur. She has been serving as a government doctor for the past 8 years and the past 2 of these years have been spent in the research field. She graduated with her medical degree from University Sriwijaya in Indonesia and just added a Masters in Health Research Ethics (with Honors) from University Malaya in my portfolio. Her interest in ethics stems from her belief that any and all living beings should be treated in an ethical and compassionate manner, especially when treating them as patients or participants in a research setting.

Mary Ann Abacan (Moderator)
University of the Philippines

Dr Mary Ann Abacan is an Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines– College of Medicine serving as faculty both under the Department of Pediatrics and the Social Medicine Unit.  She is a clinical geneticist specializing in inborn errors of metabolism and is a consultant at the Institute of Human Genetics-National Institutes of Health.  Dr Abacan earned her Masters degree in Bioethics through the joint program of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine and the College of Social Science and Philosophy.

Ivan Soberano (Moderator)
University of the Philippines

Ivan Soberano is an Assistant Professor from the University of the Philippines. He is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate and a Registered Nurse. In addition, he is a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master in International Social Welfare and Health Policy. His clinical practice was in Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing, and Geriatric Nursing in the Philippines and abroad.

With training in research and statistics, Mr. Soberano has been teaching Research and Nursing Statistics, and also serves as a thesis adviser and panel member to the undergraduate and graduate research of the University of the Philippines College of Nursing.

Nishakanthi Gopalan (Moderator)
Universiti Malaya

Dr. Nishakanthi Gopalan is a Senior Lecturer at the Medical Humanities and Ethics Unit (MedHEU), Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya (UM), Malaysia. She is a biotechnologist with a Ph.D in research ethics. She currently coordinates the Master of Health Research Ethics (MOHRE) programme in collaboration with the Berman Institute of Johns Hopkins University (JHU), US. Dr Nisha is also a member of the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) research ethics and clinical ethics committee. Her research interests encompass wide spectrum of ethics, including bioethics, medical ethics, research ethics, and clinical ethics related to emerging technologies, health research, and aesthetic medicine.

Jairus Diesta Espiritu (Moderator)
Mapúa University

Jairus Diesta Espiritu is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Liberal Arts of Mapúa University in Intramuros, Manila. He holds a bachelor and a master degree in Philosophy from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. While teaching, he concurrently worked as technical staff to the Mayor of San Mateo, Rizal, Philippines as speech writer and technical reviewer, assisting in the administrative and technical aspects of governance at the municipal level. He trained teachers from the Department of Education Public Schools Division of Nueva Ecija and has edited a senior high school textbook on philosophy.

He has published articles on Filipino Philosophy, Analytic Existentialism, Philosophy of Religion, and Philosophy of Education. He is one of the three recipients of the 2023 Don Isabelo delos Reyes Essay Prize in Filipino Philosophy of the Philosophical Association of the Philippines.

Saida Coreas (Moderator)
University of Southern California

Saida Coreas is a PhD student in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. She graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a B.S in Public Health. She completed a 3-year (2018-2021) post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) fellowship at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she worked on projects examining the racial/ethnic differences in tobacco product use patterns among U.S. adults, as well as relationships between cigarette smoking susceptibility and smoking initiation among U.S. youth. Her research focuses on understanding how factors relating to social determinants of health influence tobacco use among minority populations.

Rolsanna R. Ramos
Philippine Orthopedic Center

Currently Vice Chairman of the Philippine Orthopedic Center Research Board, Dr. Rolsanna R. Ramos combines her clinical insights and academic acumen to drive advancements in orthopedic care and research.

Dr. Ramos earned her Doctorate Degree in Nursing from the University of the Philippines Manila. She holds a Master of Arts degree with a focus on Nursing Administration and Management. Her academic journey also includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Technology from the University of the Philippines Diliman, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.


Dr. Mellissa Withers at [email protected]