NeuroGenE is a global research and training initiative exploring the multilayered ethical challenges around psychiatric genetics and genomics. Psychiatric genetics and genomics have the potential to transform the way that mental disorders are diagnosed and treated within the global context, but alongside these exciting developments are complex ethical dilemmas which demand closer scrutiny. The purpose of NeuroGenE is to undertake bioethical research that will generate ethically grounded strategies that inform scientific research and clinical and public policy application of psychiatric genetics and genomics. An important aim of our work is to help improve the treatment of and respect for persons facing mental health challenges, their families and their carers. Moreover, we seek to investigate how scientific research on psychiatric genomics can best respect and benefit local communities; including local stakeholders, practitioners, and scientific infrastructures.
NeuroGenE has 2 core principles: mutual dialogue and capacity building, which are embedded into how we work.
Mutual dialogue is vital to promote an ethos of mutual accountability and intellectual humility that is required for a truly global orientation towards the ethical examination of psychiatric genetics and genomics. This principle enables the cultural exchange with local experts and direct engagement with stakeholders which will facilitate much needed dialogue between cultural and scientific understandings of mental disorder.
Capacity-building expresses a commitment to strengthen research and training capacity in the ethics of psychiatric genetics and genomics. Core activities include training on the science and ethics of psychiatric genetics and genomics, mentorship for local researchers, fostering institutional research capacity through partnerships with different organisations, of which we are developing with the African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI), University of Ghana, and University of Cape Town, and the formation of a global network of multidisciplinary researchers, within and across institutions, including the Africa Ethics Working Group (AEWG).
- Advance and integrate ethics in global mental health research and intervention
- Foster multidisciplinary global collaborations
- Improve the treatment of persons with neurological disorders
- Reduce stigma in global mental health
- Guide responsible conduct and use of psychiatric genetics and genomics
- Ensure psychiatric genetics and genomics respects and benefits local communities
- Build capacity in psychiatric genetic and genomic research and training