Faculty Scholars Program

Paul P. Christopher, MD

Class of 2021
  • Associate Professor
Brown University
Scholar Project

Paul P. Christopher conducts bioethics research that aims to enhance public policy, inform medical research, and improve clinical care. Dr. Christopher has a particular interest in identifying how to best promote the interests of “vulnerable” populations in research, including individuals who are incarcerated or under correctional supervision, and those who have treatment refractory psychiatric illnesses. Using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, he examines ethics topics ranging from informed consent, voluntariness, decisional capacity, undue influence, and therapeutic misconception. In some cases, his research has identified deficits in research protections; in other instances, it has revealed ways in which research may be overly restricted. Dr. Christopher also studies policies that allow for the compulsory treatment of opioid and other substance use disorders and factors that lead to criminal justice involvement among individuals with psychiatric disorders. To date, his work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Illness, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the Substance and Mental Health Services Administration, and The Greenwall Foundation.

For more information, visit: https://vivo.brown.edu/display/pchristo

An Updated Empirically-informed Ethical Framework for Clinical Research Involving Prisoners

Grant Cycle: 2017 - 2018

Current regulations for prison research seek to prevent exploitation and coercion. Yet they also hinder science that may address serious health problems prisoners face and fail to provide key protections. Dr. Christopher aims to develop a comprehensive ethical framework that adequately protects prisoners while advancing needed research that benefits them. He also aims to develop a tool for investigators and IRBs that facilitates research planning and conduct.


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