MASTER OF INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH BIOETHICS
The Monash University Master in International Research Bioethics
Bebe Loff, BA LLB MA is Head, Research Bioethics in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. She is a lawyer who has qualifications in philosophy and studied medical law and ethics and Kings College, London University. Bebe Loff directed the legislative program for several ministers of health in her State. She managed an extensive and complex review of public health law in the early 1980s and smaller reviews of legislation dealing with, amongst other matters, the regulation of health practitioners, advance directives, regulation of public and private health services, quality assurance, and therapeutic goods, drugs and poisons. The review of public health law involved consideration of infectious diseases law including laws applicable to HIV/AIDS. The outcome was generally regarded as a model for other States in Australia, and Australia’s approach of partnership between government and affected groups facilitated by a legislative framework respectful of rights has been lauded internationally.
Bebe Loff is a member of the Australian Health Ethics Committee, Australia’s principal ethics committee and the Vaccine Working Party of the Australian National Council on AIDS, Hepatitis C and Related Diseases. Prior to this she was a member of the legal working party of the Australian Intergovernmental Committee on AIDS whose final report significantly influenced the United Nations publication "HIV/AIDS and Human Rights – International Guidelines" (New York and Geneva 1998).
Bebe Loff was Australia’s representative at discussions held by UNAIDS about ethical guidelines for HIV vaccine trials. In this regard she was commissioned to produce a paper dealing with "Protection of Subjects in HIV Vaccine Trials". She was a consultant to the British Medical Association in relation to their publication "The Medical Profession and Human Rights" (Zed Books in association with the BMA, London and New York, 2001). She is currently producing ethical guidelines commissioned by the Australian Government concerning ethical issues in HIV vaccine trials being conducted both locally and internationally. She was also recently contracted to provide advice to the Federal Government regarding: ethical and human rights issues surrounding the distribution of an influenza vaccine during a pandemic; privacy concerns when transferring public health information across jurisdictions; and appropriate responses to those who intentionally or recklessly transmit HIV to others.
In addition Bebe Loff has worked on projects in both remote and urban Aboriginal populations and with an AusAID funded project dealing with sexual health law in Papua New Guinea. She has worked with numerous community-based organizations including local and international sex worker groups (for over 20 years) and groups whose focus is HIV/AIDS.
She is a correspondent with The Lancet and has published extensively in that journal (and in others) including publications on the ethics of international collaborative health research. She is also the author of a number of government publications, though authorship is not cited in those documents. Her work is referred to on the Fogarty Center website
Dr Mike Toole BMedSc MBBS DTM&H currently holds several academic appointments namely: Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, Monash University; Adjunct Asst. Professor, School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York; and Adjunct Professor, School of Health Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne. Prior to this he was Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Emory
University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. At Emory University he was voted "Professor of the Year" in 1994.
Mike Toole has received numerous commendations for his work including the: Thai Red Cross Commendation Medal for services to refugees; US Public Health Service, Special Recognition Award (refugee health); CDC Honor Award (public health crisis in former Soviet Union); and the US Public Health Service, Special Recognition Award (Rwandan refugees).
He has had extensive international experience in training and education in public health and in policy and program management. He has coordinated courses in health management and refugee health at CDC and Emory University’s School of Public Health and contributed to public health surveillance and communicable disease control courses at Emory, Tufts, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Tulane, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Idaho Universities (US). In 1997 he developed and taught an epidemiology module in first national course on refugee health for US-based relief agencies. He has conducted courses in epidemiology and public health in emergency settings for the US Government, UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, Médecins sans Frontières (1990-2000), the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management & Humanitarian Assistance, Honolulu (‘96-‘01), James Cook University (‘96-‘01), and ANU/NCEPH (1996-00). He is the coordinator of Graduate Diploma of International Health in Monash University’s Master of Public Health.
He has also had significant experience in public health policy development and program management. Mike Toole supervises the activities of the International Health Unit of the Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health in Indonesia, India, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, PNG, Pacific Island Nations, and China as well as collaborative projects with WHO, UNAIDS, UNICEF, and UNDP. He was Project Director for: an AusAID funded primary health care &
water supply project, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, 1998-2000; the Lao Youth AIDS/STD project, Lao Youth Union, Vientiane, Lao PDR, 1998-2001; and the Tibet HIV/AIDS Response Project, 1999-2001. He also provided technical support to Healthy Start for Child Survival Project, Lombok, Indonesia, 1995-96 and managed a rural district primary health care (PHC) program, in the Nan Province, northern Thailand (1976-80).
Mike Toole has 48 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 9 book chapters. He is also the author of several CDC publications where authorship is not cited in the publication and has contributed to the Encyclopedia Brittanica on several occasions.
Dr Jim Black MBBS (Hons) DTM&H MCommH has a long-standing interest in the application of bioethics in developing countries. He has published on the recent debate concerning the Helsinki Declaration on research involving human subjects.
He is Head of Epidemiology at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He has extensive experience as a clinician, epidemiologist and public health researcher, gained over nearly ten years in both urban and rural Africa (mostly Mozambique and Tanzania). For four years he was the epidemiologist to the Provincial Department of Health in Manica district, Mozambique, where he was involved in HIV and STI surveillance, and operational research into HIV/AIDS transmission and a number of other public health issues.
Since his return to Australia in 1998 he has been based in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. As well as his own research on the use of artificial neural networks in epidemiology he created and taught a class on Infectious Disease Epidemiology for the Master of Public Health course. He has contributed to several other courses at undergraduate and graduate level, including Field methods for planning and evaluation, Refugee health, Communicable disease control in developing countries and Health, Ethics and Human rights. He was senior epidemiologist in the World Health Organization team that set up and ran the disease surveillance system shortly after the arrival of the international peacekeeping force in East Timor in 1999.
information contact: Dr Bebe Loff
For more information contact:
Dr Bebe Loff