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Personal Biography of Dr. Virginia Ashby Sharpe

Human Studies Review Board

Ethics Training for Members and Consultants Serving on the HSRB

Virginia Ashby Sharpe, Ph.D. is an ethicist on the staff of the VHA National Center for Ethics in Health Care and a visiting scholar at Georgetown University where she teaches courses in environmental ethics and clinical ethics.

At VHA, Dr. Sharpe supports policy development and implementation on a broad range of ethical issues including adverse event disclosure, conflicts of interest and professionalism, release of protected health information, and organ donation. She also directs the VHA Pandemic Influenza Ethics Initiative, developing ethical guidance and resources for pandemic flu planning and response. Since 1998, Dr. Sharpe has been an advisory board member to the Mothers and Newborns study at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health. This community-based cohort study uses biomarker research and environmental monitoring to study the effects of several common pollutants on children’s health in Harlem and Washington Heights.

Dr. Sharpe received her Ph.D. with honors in philosophy from Georgetown University and her A.B. with honors from Smith College. Prior to her work at VHA, she was the director of the Integrity in Science project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Her work at CSPI involved education and advocacy to address conflicts of interest in scientific research and federal, and state science-based policy. Dr. Sharpe was also Deputy Director and an Associate for Biomedical and Environmental Ethics at the Hastings Center, a bioethics education institute in Garrison, NY.

Dr. Sharpe has spoken widely and published numerous books and articles on ethical issues concerning health care and the environment, including Accountability: Patient Safety and Policy Reform. (Georgetown University Press, 2004); “Knowledge, Norms and the Politics of Risk: Ethical Issues in Policy-Relevant Science.” In David Bellinger, ed. Human Developmental Neurotoxicology. (New York: Marcel Dekker, 2006): 511-525; “What are We Doing When We’re Doing Research on Humans?” Neurotoxicology and Teratology 2002:24(4):451-4.Wolves and Human Communities: Biology, Politics, and Ethics. (Island Press, 2001); and Medical Harm: Historical, Conceptual and Ethical Dimensions of Iatrogenic Illness. (Cambridge U. Press, 1998)


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