Introduction

The Association was formally established in May 2017. The overarching aim of REASA is to bring together Southern African RECs in order to promote ethical research though the exchange of ideas, knowledge and experience in the area of research ethics. REASA is registered as a Non Profit Organisation (NPO) called REASA FOUNDATION (Number: 231-458). We welcome members across Africa. The Association is not affiliated to any tertiary academic institution. Most of its members are academics or professional practitioners who are involved in research ethics governance. The Fogarty International Centre of the United States National Health Institutes provided seed funding to start off REASA’s activities.

Introducing the Executive Committee of REASA

REASA is served by an Executive Committee which consists of REASA members that have been elected by their fellow members. This group of committed and enthusiastic individuals are driven by the overriding need to merge the isolated spaces in which individual RECs across Southern Africa currently operate. The committee members work in different Work Groups that are convened by team leaders.

Chairperson

Prof Minrie Greeff our newly elected chairperson of REASA is Head of the Faculty of Health Sciences Ethics Office at the North-West University since 2015, managing both human and animal research. She is also Professor in research in the Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR) since 2008. She was the former director of the School of Nursing for 11 years. She has spent a lot of her energy establishing qualitative research in Nursing as well as in other health disciplines. Her focus has over the past 15 years shifted to addressing HIV stigma interventions in health care settings and the community, using a transdisciplinary health research approach.  Over the past five years she has added health research ethics to her portfolio since qualifying as a research ethicist in 2014 at the University of Stellenbosch which also led to her appointment as councillor on the National Health Research Ethics Council in 2017. Prof Greeff has received numerous awards: the induction into the Researcher’s Hall of Fame of the Forum of University Deans in South Africa (2011); and the most prestigious induction into the International Nurse Researcher’s Hall of Fame of Sigma Theta Tau International on the 2nd of August 2012 in Australia. In 2014 she received the SA Academy of Science and Arts’ Stals prize for Nursing. She is an inducted member of the SA Academy of Science and Arts, ASSAf and ANSA and an NRF rated researcher.

Vice Chairperson

Dr Lillian Omutoko is the Vice‑Chairperson of REASA. She is the Regional Coordinator of Nairobi Campus, and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Open Learning, University of Nairobi, Kenya. She is a seasoned professional educator and conducts multidisciplinary research in Education, Project Planning and Management, and Gender and Management. Lillian holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research Ethics.  She has received Fogarty Scholarship Awards from the National Institutes of Health for a fellowship at the University of Washington and Stellenbosch University where she studied Health Research Ethics. Recently, she was awarded a scholarship by University of Anahuac, Mexico and she is pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Global Ethics.   She is Faculty in CBEC-KEMRI Bioethics Training Initiative and a Co-investigator in an EDCTP Project on Strengthening Ethics Review and Oversight in Kenya. Dr Omutoko is a member of Kenyatta National Hospital-University of Nairobi Research Ethics Committee and National Bioethics Committee. She is a National Commission of Science and Technology Trainer where she trains Review Ethics Committee Members and provides oversight services to ensure compliance to research regulatory requirements by RECs. Lillian participated in developing of the Training Module for RECs and has recently published a chapter in a Springer Publication ‘Social Science Research Ethics in Africa.’

Secretary

Dr Fikile M Mnisi our newly elected secretary of REASA is the Project Manager: Strategic Projects at the Director Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement’s office at the Tshwane University of Technology. She was previously the Manager for Next Bioscience: Biologics Division. Her background is in the field of Biotechnology (medical), i.e. Tissue Engineering / Regenerative medicine and she conducted her doctorate studies in Bioethics and Law at the University of Witwatersrand, through the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics. Her focus is on the bioethical, legal and social issues associated with science and technology as well as matters of (bio)patents, with focus on policy analysis, development and frameworks. Due to her passion in science and social matters she has developed an interest in Research Ethics, particularly with regard to biotherapies and/or bio-pharmaceutical products and their effects on the community. Dr Mnisi is also part of the ethics training initiatives at UNISA (since 2016) and has been involved in developing and conducting ethics training for the inmates at the Johannesburg Correctional Service during a doctoral study in 2017. Since then she has voluntarily conducted ethics training for the inmates, as well as ethics training for the University of Mpumalanga staff members (2019). Dr Mnisi is a hospital board member since April 2016 – April 2019 and her term was renewed in April 2019 – April 2021; and she served on the Legal and Compliance Portfolio and is currently serving on the Clinical and Infectious Diseases Portfolio.

Treasurer

Mrs Tanya Coetzee received the Fogarty NIH grant in 2012 and completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research Ethics at the University of Stellenbosch as part of the ARESA Programme in 2013. In 2018 she has completed the M Phil Applied Ethics at the same University. Tanya is the newly elected Treasurer and was the former Secretary of the Research Ethics Committee Association of Southern Africa (REASA). Tanya is passionate about ethics education and the importance of teaching ethics education to undergraduate students. She was part of the inauguration of the Faculty of Science Ethics Committee at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in 2012 and was a member of this Committee until November 2018. During the 2016-2018 period she was a co-opted member of this Committee and one of the presenters of the Ethics Capacity Training Course that is co-presented by TUT and UNISA. She is currently a member of the South African Medical Association REC. She has extensive experience in ethics review of postgraduate research proposals. Tanya is currently employed as a Project Manager at Vita Brevis Language (Pty) Ltd and works with SA and international translators on a variety of translation projects that includes health research documents.

Marketing & Communication

Assoc Prof Wayne Towers is the academic advisor for the Ethics Office for Research, Training and Support in the Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University since 2014. In 2014, Prof Towers was appointed as a member of the newly established Health Research Ethics Committee (HREC) at the university and became vice chairperson of the Health Research Ethics Committee (HREC) in September 2014. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry and completed a postgraduate diploma in health research ethics at Stellenbosch University in 2015, which he passed with distinction. His research focus is currently on genetic epidemiology, but he is building a research track in the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genetic and genomic research. He was the Chairperson of the North-West University Health Research Ethics Committee from September 2017 to September 2019 (of which he is now a member) and is currently a member of the North-West University Animal Care, Health and Safety Research Ethics Committee (NWU-AnimCareREC), the North‑West University Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee (NWU-HSSREC) and the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Sciences Research Ethics Committee (FNASREC). He is also a member of the Senate Committee for Research Ethics (SCRE) since February 2016 and is heading up the Communication and Marketing group of REASA.

Marketing & Communication

Dr Carolina Henn is a registered Counselling Psychologist since 1996 and is a senior lecturer in the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management in the College of Business and Economics, at the University of Johannesburg.  In 2006, she obtained her PhD in Psychology from the University of the Free State.   After having a private practice for a few years, she joined the University of Johannesburg in 2008.  Since doing her Master’s dissertation on dealing with confidential information in different professions, she has been interested in ethics in social sciences. Since 2009 she served on the then Faculty of Management’s ethics committee which dealt with research ethics and academic dishonesty such as plagiarism.  In 2018 she was elected chairperson of the newly established College of Business and Economics’ Research Ethics Committee, and as such led the design and implementation of a new and more rigorous ethical clearance process. Carolina is married and has three children, and her family is always her first priority.  She serves on the REASA ExCo in the Marketing and Communication portfolio.

Education & Training

Prof Marelize Schoeman is qualified as social worker (1993) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She was employed for 10 years as a social worker at the Department of Correctional Services. During this period, she specialised in Criminal Justice Social Work and obtained a Master’s degree in 1998 and her DPhil degree in 2004. She conducted research part-time until 2005 when she started a research and training consultancy. Since then she has been involved in various research projects for, amongst others, the Department of Correctional Services, CSIR Crime Prevention Centre, Khulisa Social Solutions, Restorative Justice Centre and the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Rehabilitation of Offenders (NICRO). Prof Schoeman is employed at the University of South Africa since 2008 and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology and Security Science. Her research interests are focused on children in conflict with the law and at risk children, child justice, restorative justice as well as research methodology and ethics. Prof Schoeman is a member of the Unisa Research Ethics Committee since 2012 and was the deputy-chair of the committee from 2013 – 2015. She is also a member of the College of Law Research Ethics Committee and was the chairperson of the committee from 2012 to 2014. She is furthermore a member of the Unisa Academic Integrity sub-committee. She is a member of the Education and Training Committee.

Marketing & Communication

Prof Yvonne Paul is an Associate Professor in Department of Sport, Rehabilitation and Dental Sciences at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, Gauteng, where she has been a faculty member since 1999. Yvonne has completed her PhD, which focused on the discipline of Biokinetics and Sport Science, at the University of Pretoria. Her undergraduate was completed at University of Durban Westville in Kwa-Zulu Natal (currently called University of Kwa-Zulu Natal). Her research interest lies in the area of Diabetes Mellitus and in particular the efficacy of exercise as a modality of treatment for Diabetes Mellitus. She works in research areas related to Diabetes Mellitus and uses exercise as the treatment modality core treatment. She has published numerous articles in the area pertaining to health and wellness.  She is also a registered Biokineticist, a profession that uses exercise as a core modality as a final phase rehabilitation.  Yvonne is currently one of the Directors on the South African Biokinetics Board for National and International relations, she has served on national and international scientific committees, and has chaired national and international conferences. She has been invited as keynote speaker to national and international conferences. She has published many articles in accredited journals and a chapter for a book. She has continuous interests in researching on exercise and the various topics related to Diabetes mellitus. Her research has also extended into other areas related to health and wellness and rehabilitation. Yvonne is currently the Head of Department of Sport, Rehabilitating and Dental Sciences at the Tshwane University of Technology, Gauteng, South Africa and is involved in lecturing pathophysiology and chronic diseases for the Biokinetics students. Yvonne was born in a rural valley called Glendale in Kwa-Zulu Natal, north of Durban. Yvonne is married to Dr Elton Joseph a specialist physician and has 3 sons; Ethan (11 years), Jadon (10 years) and Jared (4 years). Before becoming a proud and obsessed mum, Yvonne enjoyed outdoor activities mainly athletics and dancing; now she usually manages to read only research related documents and does the occasional ice-skating and swimming. She serves on the REASA ExCo in the Marketing and Communication portfolio.

Education & Training

Ms Anita Kleinsmidt is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Medical Ethics & Law, Faculty Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University. She has obtained a BA from the University of the Western Cape, an LLB and an LLM from the University of the Witwatersrand and a postgraduate diploma (PGDip) in Applied Ethics at the University of Stellenbosch. She practised as an attorney at law firms in Johannesburg and at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. She also lectured at the Steve Biko Bioethics Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand and was a Law Publisher at Juta. She is a member of the Education and Training Committee.

Education & Training

Dr Toby Tobe P Nwachukwu is part of the Education and Training Portfolio, and a Research Fellow at the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Initiatives (TMALI), University of South Africa, Pretoria. He is a member of the South African Development Studies Association (SADSA), an associate member of the Industrial Engineering and Operational Management (IEOM); a member of the International Third Sector Research, African Forum (ISTR), and also of the South African Council of Social Services Professionals (SACSSP) among others. His doctoral research work was centred on social and administrative ethics and management within the African context in 2017. He is an Ethics Ambassador trainer with GLOBETHICS.NET. His areas of speciality are on ethical–ecology, ethics in entrepreneurship development and social justice ethical advocacy. He has an interest in trans-disciplinary research within the humanities and social sciences (psycho-social patterned behaviours). He has lectured and developed programmes for operational management, social work ethics and administration; substance abuse and field practicum at the University of Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal from 2014-2016. He is part of the team on the Policy Research Ethics Review Committee of the University of South Africa, and he is an instructor and enabler on ethics and moral capital imagination with the HIV and Social Diversity Curriculum Integration Project at the University of South Africa since 2018. He was the coordinator of the HIV/AIDS peer group educator with the Family Planning programme from 2004-2006 with the Kosobuso Local Government, Kwara State in Nigeria. He served as an ethical and compliance officer with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC, Abia State) from 2009-2010 and the National Union of Shops and Distributive Employees (NUSDE, Calabar) from 2006-2009 in Nigeria. His focus over the last two years has been on trans-disciplinary research in eco-entrepreneurship and social justice advocacy with special attention on ecological justice, moral capital development and Africanisation of ethical issues within the institutions and communities, and political moral ethical enhancement. He is a member of the Education and Training Committee.

Ex-Officio Members of REASA

Prof Keymanthri Moodley

MBChB (Natal), MFamMed cum laude (Stell), MPhil cum laude (Applied Ethics) (Stell), FCFP (SA), DPhil (Stell) Executive MBA (UCT) is a Professor in the Department of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University. She is a family physician and a bioethicist.

In 2013, she was rated by the National Research Foundation (NRF) as an established researcher based on her numerous national and international publications, conference presentations, her role on national bodies like the MRC Board and the National Health Research Ethics Council (NHREC) and her involvement in international organisations such as the WHO, International AIDS Society (IAS) and NIH DSMBs. She has worked as principal investigator on clinical trials since 1999, and served on the University Research Ethics Committee.

The Centre has been designated as a Collaborating Centre in Bioethics by the World Health Organisation, one of seven in the world and the first on the African continent. The main activities of the Centre include bioethics teaching, empirical research in bioethics and clinical ethics consultation. Since 2011, Keymanthri has co-hosted an NIH Fogarty program to develop capacity in Health Research Ethics in Africa in collaboration with the Bioethics Center, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, USA. The program has graduated 40 postgraduate scholars from 10 African countries over the past 4 years.

In 2013, she was awarded a second NIH grant to examine the ethical and social issues associated with HIV Cure research. In 2015, the Centre was awarded its third NIH grant to explore ethical, legal and social issues related to genomic biobanking. Keymanthri is a member of the Academy of Science in South Africa and completed an Executive MBA in 2015. She is currently Chair of the MRC REC.

Prof Stuart Rennie

Research Assistant Professor, Social Medicine Co-Chair, UNC Behavioral Institutional Review Board MA 1995, Anthropology, University of Leuven, Belgium PhD 2001, Philosophy, University of Leuven, Belgium. Stuart Rennie is a Research Assistant Professor in Social Medicine and co-Chair of UNC-Chapel Hills Institutional Review Board for social and behavioral research. His background is in philosophy and medical anthropology, and his doctoral dissertation concentrated on the impact that luck and chance can have on attributions of moral responsibility. Prof Rennie’s current teaching and research interests focus on research ethics, public health ethics and medical ethics, particularly in the context of the developing world.

He is currently co-Principal Investigator of a NIH/Fogarty International Center bioethics capacity building project in the Central Francophone Africa (‘Building Bioethics Capacity and Justice in Health’), and works as ethics consultant for CDC/Global AIDS Projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar. Prof Rennie was Visiting Lecturer at the Center for Bioethics in Stellenbosch, and Lecturer in philosophy at UNC-Greensboro, as well as Lecturer in applied ethics in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Cape Town.

In addition to giving guest lectures on research ethics and bioethics within various departments at UNC, Prof Rennie regularly leads a graduate seminar on Global Health Ethics and co-teaches a doctoral seminar on the history and philosophy of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. As ethics consultant, Prof Rennie has acted as lead author of the Ethics Guidance for Research (2009) of the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) and has provided ethics consultation for UNC researchers as a member of the International Core of the UNC’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).

He was also ethics consultant for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Prof Rennie is also ethics reviewer for the European and Developing World Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and the Wellcome Trust. Prof Rennie has also successfully applied for NIH grants to conduct qualitative research on rationing AIDS treatment in DR Congo and community attitudes to male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy in Malawi. He has published in peer-reviewed journals such as PLoS Medicine, Science, the Hastings Center Report, Developing World Bioethics and the Journal of Medical Ethics on a variety of themes, including informed consent, HIV testing policies, medical rationing, implementation ethics, research involving children, health surveillance, health inequality and social justice. He also writes for his own Global Bioethics Blog.