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Keywords:

  • developing world bioethics;
  • international service learning programs;
  • ethics;
  • service learning

ABSTRACT

Inequities in global health are increasingly of interest to health care providers in developed countries. In response, many academic healthcare programs have begun to offer international service learning programs. Participants in these programs are motivated by ethical principles, but this type of work presents significant ethical challenges, and no formalized ethical guidelines for these activities exist. In this paper the ethical issues presented by international service learning programs are described and recommendations are made for how academic healthcare programs can carry out international service learning programs in a way that minimizes ethical conflicts and maximizes benefits for all stakeholders. Issues related to project sustainability and community involvement are emphasized.