While new health and medicine technologies from gene editing to artificial intelligence promise to be immeasurably beneficial, they also come with profound ethical and societal implications. How can societies create dynamic governance structures to ensure that innovations are developed both ethically and equitably?
A new ad hoc committee created by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and co-chaired by Keith Wailoo of Princeton University will develop new frameworks to govern the benefits and risks associated with health and medical technologies.
“This is an exciting initiative,” Wailoo said. “Too often, issues of fairness, equity, and common good are afterthoughts of science and health innovation. This committee brings together a diverse group to think boldly about how innovation and equity can be aligned better, and to develop the systems to make that a reality.”
Wailoo, the Henry Putnam University Professor of History and Public Affairs, will co-chair the committee with Keith Yamamoto of the University of California, San Francisco. Together, they and the committee will assess the existing governance of emerging technologies and develop a governance framework that aligns science, technology, and innovation with the core values of fairness, equity, and the collective good. This framework will also address the need for new regulatory bodies, guidelines, laws, and norms.
The committee, made up of members from diverse academic disciplines and professional backgrounds, will assess the current health and medicine technology ecosystem to identify governance gaps and unintended consequences. It will also look at governance approaches at key points throughout the lifecycle of technologies with a particular focus on enhancing justice, equity, and fairness. Likewise, the committee will consider how to empower technology stakeholders to develop and transform technologies while mitigating risks.
While the committee will pay particular attention to the governance ecosystem in the United States by examining the role of government, private sector, nonprofit, academic, and consumer-oriented policies, it will also consider mechanisms to coordinate cross-border governance issues where applicable.
This effort builds on the prior work of the National Academy of Medicine Standing Committee on Emerging Science, Technology, and Innovation in Health and Medicine, a committee on which Wailoo served. To share input or comments for consideration by the committee, email CESTI@nas.edu.