School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Our chemical cultural heritage: Hartung (1893-1979)
    NEL, P (Royal Australian Chemical Institute, 2010)
    The history and evolution of the chemical cultural heritage of Australia is discussed. The dream of Ernst Johannes Hartung for the establishment of a new purpose-built building for chemistry at the University of Melbourne was finally realized.
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    Our Chemical cultural heritage: Masson and Rivett (1885-1961)
    NEL, P (Royal Australian Chemical Institute, 2010)
    A new phase for chemistry at the University of Melbourne began in 1886, featuring David Masson and Albert Rivett, who also had instrumental roles in the birth of CSIRO.
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    Our chemical cultural heritage: Macadam and Kirkland (1862-85)
    NEL, P (Royal Australian Chemical Institute, 2009)
    In the November edition (p. 20), I provided an overview of the Chemistry Collection at the University of Melbourne, its significance and various projects I have been involved with that aim to make the collection available to the public. I hinted at how many of the items in the collection are associated with key figures in the history of chemistry and science not only at the University of Melbourne but also on national and international levels. These early teachers of chemistry are featured in an inaugural exhibition in the foyer of the Chemistry Building. Here I will focus on the early days, when chemistry was taught through the Medical School and the two main chemistry lecturers of this time: Macadam and Kirkland.
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    Our chemical cultural heritage: The University of Melbourne Chemistry Collection
    NEL, P (Royal Australian Chemical Institute, 2009)
    The key issues covered and a description of The University of Melbourne Chemistry Collection is discussed. The collection is being temporarily housed at the university, until it is returned to its original home, The School of Chemistry.
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    Respect: Engendering participatory relationships in conservation education
    SLOGGETT, R (Canadian Association for Conservation, 2009)
    In 2004, the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation (The University of Melbourne) established a new subject, Respect, as part of a new Masters by Coursework in Cultural Materials Conservation. In this subject, guest lecturers who have extraordinary or senior cultural expertise and knowledge introduce students to the political and societal aspects of cultural materials conservation. They lead students through the complexity of issues relating to context, disruption, authenticity, legal standing, development, reinvention, identity, and minority status. In Respect, students are asked to think about conservation as a practice that could benefit from incorporating intellectual positions and emotional skills that have been developed by other cultures, or marginalized communities within our own culture, to support the preservation of their cultural material or cultural identity. In order to do this, Respect seeks to indicate to students the political nature of cultural material conservation decision-making. The subject also asks students to consider who the partners in cultural materials conservation are, and whether conservators and those with the responsibility and interest in cultural preservation have the skills to enter into successful participatory partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders.
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    Evaluating priority setting success in healthcare: a pilot study
    Sibbald, SL ; Gibson, JL ; Singer, PA ; Upshur, R ; Martin, DK (BMC, 2010-05-19)
    BACKGROUND: In healthcare today, decisions are made in the face of serious resource constraints. Healthcare managers are struggling to provide high quality care, manage resources effectively, and meet changing patient needs. Healthcare managers who are constantly making difficult resource decisions desire a way to improve their priority setting processes. Despite the wealth of existing priority setting literature (for example, program budgeting and marginal analysis, accountability for reasonableness, the 'describe-evaluate-improve' strategy) there are still no tools to evaluate how healthcare resources are prioritised. This paper describes the development and piloting of a process to evaluate priority setting in health institutions. The evaluation process was designed to examine the procedural and substantive dimensions of priority setting using a multi-methods approach, including a staff survey, decision-maker interviews, and document analysis. METHODS: The evaluation process was piloted in a mid-size community hospital in Ontario, Canada while its leaders worked through their annual budgeting process. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to analyze the data. RESULTS: The evaluation process was both applicable to the context and it captured the budgeting process. In general, the pilot test provided support for our evaluation process and our definition of success, (i.e., our conceptual framework). CONCLUSIONS: The purpose of the evaluation process is to provide a simple, practical way for an organization to better understand what it means to achieve success in its priority setting activities and identify areas for improvement. In order for the process to be used by healthcare managers today, modification and contextualization of the process are anticipated. As the evaluation process is applied in more health care organizations or applied repeatedly in an organization, it may become more streamlined.
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    The three main monotheistic religions and gm food technology: an overview of perspectives
    Omobowale, EB ; Singer, PA ; Daar, AS (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2009)
    BACKGROUND: Public acceptance of genetically modified crops is partly rooted in religious views. However, the views of different religions and their potential influence on consumers' decisions have not been systematically examined and summarized in a brief overview. We review the positions of the Judaism, Islam and Christianity - the three major monotheistic religions to which more than 55% of humanity adheres to - on the controversies aroused by GM technology. DISCUSSION: The article establishes that there is no overarching consensus within the three religions. Overall, however, it appears that mainstream theology in all three religions increasingly tends towards acceptance of GM technology per se, on performing GM research, and on consumption of GM foods. These more liberal approaches, however, are predicated on there being rigorous scientific, ethical and regulatory scrutiny of research and development of such products, and that these products are properly labeled. SUMMARY: We conclude that there are several other interests competing with the influence exerted on consumers by religion. These include the media, environmental activists, scientists and the food industry, all of which function as sources of information and shapers of perception for consumers.
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    Priority setting: what constitutes success? A conceptual framework for successful priority setting
    Sibbald, SL ; Singer, PA ; Upshur, R ; Martin, DK (BMC, 2009-03-05)
    BACKGROUND: The sustainability of healthcare systems worldwide is threatened by a growing demand for services and expensive innovative technologies. Decision makers struggle in this environment to set priorities appropriately, particularly because they lack consensus about which values should guide their decisions. One way to approach this problem is to determine what all relevant stakeholders understand successful priority setting to mean. The goal of this research was to develop a conceptual framework for successful priority setting. METHODS: Three separate empirical studies were completed using qualitative data collection methods (one-on-one interviews with healthcare decision makers from across Canada; focus groups with representation of patients, caregivers and policy makers; and Delphi study including scholars and decision makers from five countries). RESULTS: This paper synthesizes the findings from three studies into a framework of ten separate but interconnected elements germane to successful priority setting: stakeholder understanding, shifted priorities/reallocation of resources, decision making quality, stakeholder acceptance and satisfaction, positive externalities, stakeholder engagement, use of explicit process, information management, consideration of values and context, and revision or appeals mechanism. CONCLUSION: The ten elements specify both quantitative and qualitative dimensions of priority setting and relate to both process and outcome components. To our knowledge, this is the first framework that describes successful priority setting. The ten elements identified in this research provide guidance for decision makers and a common language to discuss priority setting success and work toward improving priority setting efforts.
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    'Relief of oppression': An organizing principle for researchers' obligations to participants in observational studies in the developing world
    Lavery, JV ; Bandewar, SVS ; Kimani, J ; Upshur, REG ; Plummer, FA ; Singer, PA (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2010-06-30)
    BACKGROUND: A central question in the debate about exploitation in international research is whether investigators and sponsors from high-income countries (HIC) have obligations to address background conditions of injustice in the communities in which they conduct their research, beyond the healthcare and other research-related needs of participants, to aspects of their basic life circumstances. DISCUSSION: In this paper, we describe the Majengo sexually transmitted disease (STD) Cohort study, a long-term prospective, observational cohort of sex workers in Nairobi, Kenya. Despite important scientific contributions and a wide range of benefits to the women of the cohort, most of the women have remained in the sex trade during their long-standing participation in the cohort, prompting allegations of exploitation. The Majengo STD cohort case extends the debate about justice in international research ethics beyond clinical trials into long-term observational research. We sketch the basic features of a new approach to understanding and operationalizing obligations of observational researchers, which we call 'relief of oppression'. 'Relief of oppression' is an organizing principle, analogous to the principle of harm reduction that is now widely applied in public health practice. Relief of oppression aims to help observational researchers working in conditions of injustice and deprivation to clarify their ethical obligations to participants. It aims to bridge the gap between a narrow, transaction-oriented account of avoiding exploitation and a broad account emphasizing obligations of reparation for historic injustices. We propose that relief of oppression might focus researchers' consideration of benefits on those that have some relevance to background conditions of injustice, and so elevate the priority of these benefits, in relation to others that might be considered and negotiated with participants, according to the degree to which the participating communities are constrained in their realization of fundamental freedoms. SUMMARY: The over-arching aim of relief of oppression is that, within the range of benefits negotiated over time with the local communities and organizations, an increasing proportion reflects a shared interest in improving participants' fundamental freedoms. We describe how harm reduction serves as a useful analogy for how we envision relief of oppression functioning in international research.