Division of Behavioral Medicine In the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health

Faculty Profile

Camille Nebeker, EdD, MS

Camille Nebeker, MS, EdDDr. Nebeker is an assistant professor in the UC San Diego Department of Family Medicine and Public Health with a primary appointment in Behavioral Medicine and a secondary appointment in Global Health. She holds an adjunct appointment in the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University (SDSU) and is an affiliated investigator with the UC San Diego Research Ethics Program and the Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems (CWPHS). Dr. Nebeker’s expertise is in human research ethics applied to emerging technologies and teaching/learning about research ethics.

Email: nebeker@eng.ucsd.edu


Dr. Nebeker teaches Scientific Ethics (SOM-I 226) and Research Ethics in Public Health (FPM-258C).

CAPRI: Dr. Nebeker founded the Collaborative for Advancing Professional and Research Integrity (CAPRI) in 2011.  CAPRI features our current projects (BRIC and CORE), lab members, collaborators and links to research ethics resources.

CORE: The CORE initiative is exploring the ethical dimensions of emerging technologies used in research with a focus on informed consent, risk assessment/management and bystander rights. This research is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and engages “researchers” and “Institutional Review Board” (IRB) affiliates as stakeholders to explore new and nuanced ethical and regulatory challenges introduced by research involving pervasive communication and information technologies.

BRIC: Community Health Workers (CHWs)/Promotores, are able to reach underserved populations where health disparities are most prevalent. CHWs/Promotores provide health education and services and may also assist with the development and implementation of community- and clinic-based research studies (Community-Engaged Research (CEnR) and Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR)). Recognizing that CHWs typically have no formal, academic training in research design or methods and considering that rigor in research is critical to obtaining meaningful results, we designed instruction to fill this gap. We call this educational initiative “Building Research Integrity and Capacity” or BRIC. The BRIC training consists of eight modules that can be administered as a self-paced training or incorporated into in-person, professional development geared to a specific health intervention study. BRIC was recently awarded the 2015 awards for Best Practices and Innovation from the Health Improvement Institute.

Research Themes


  1. Conceptualizing and Designing Research Ethics Education and Training for Community Health Workers/Promotores de Salud.  Federal agencies have supported health promotion and disease prevention research targeting communities where health disparities are most prevalent. A model frequently used to implement community-based research involves engaging local Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Promotores who are trusted members of the community and who are familiar with local customs, language and culture. The CHW model has proven successful in linking community organizations and hard to reach populations with academic researchers. Depending on the study design and nature of the research, CHWs facilitate research through community outreach, instrument design, participant recruitment, intervention delivery, data collection and other research related tasks. While the CHW research model is effective, there are unique challenges (e.g. recruitment, randomization, protocol adherence) associated with engaging frontline community research facilitators that need to be recognized and addressed.  My work to develop Training in Research Ethics and Standards for Promotores (TRES NHLBI/NIH T15 JL072440, Nebeker) and our new program called Building Research Integrity and Capacity (BRIC - ORIIR1300005-01-00, Nebeker) has made a unique contribution to the field of research integrity by improving research competencies in front line community research facilitators. The publications and products below are representative of our work in this area.

      • Nebeker, C. and Lopez-Arenas, A. (2016). Building Research Integrity and Capacity (BRIC): An educational initiative to increase research literacy among community health workers and promotores. Journal of Biology and Microbiology Education. (In press). 
      • Nebeker, C., Kalichman, M, Talavera, A. & Elder, J (2015). Training in research ethics and standards for promotores and community health workers engaged in Latino health research. The Hastings Center Report, 45(4), 20-27.
      • Terpstra, J., Coleman, K., Simon, G. and Nebeker, C. (2011). The role of community health workers (CHWs) in health promotion research: Ethical challenges and practical solutions. Health Promotion Practice, 12(1), 86–93. NIHMSID # 489749, PMC3748275.
      • Nebeker, C., Elder, J.P, Kalichman, M., Talavera, G. and Talavera, A. (2008). Project TRES: Training in Research Ethics and Standards: A Self-study Guide for Promotores. Retrieved from the National Center for Professional and Research Ethics website: https://nationalethicscenter.org/tres

        Innovation and Best Practices Awards: The Building Research Integrity and Capacity (BRIC) and Training in Research Ethics and Standards (TRES) programs received the 2015 Human Research Protection awards from the Health Improvement Institute. Both programs provide critical tools to community health workers serving as research facilitators in clinical and community-based studies. BRIC received the Award of Excellence for Best Practice for its efforts to boost research literacy and capacity among community members assisting in the design and implementation of health-related research. TRES won the Award for Innovation for a human research ethics curriculum designed primarily for community health workers facilitating research in Hispanic/Latino communities.
  2. Application of Research on Learning to Teaching Research Ethics. Requirements for educating the next generation of scientists in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) were published approximately 25 years ago. Since then, an extensive collection of research ethics educational resources have accumulated, most of which are available to the scientific community. How we use these resources can effect change in student learning about responsible and ethical research practices; however, research on RCR educational effectiveness has revealed mixed results. Rather than assume ethics education is ineffective, I have connected the literature on human learning and developed ethics instruction to align with the empirical evidence. My work has contributed to the field by providing evidence-based practices to improve student-learning outcomes associated with research ethics education. The NSF’s Ethics Education in Science and Engineering program (0932795, Nebeker) supported research to develop a learner-centered curriculum for science and engineering graduate students. Select publications and products are referenced below.

      • Nebeker, C. (2015).Learning theory applied to Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) instructional design: A case study assessing research integrity training for cross-sector science trainees. In Anderson, M.S., Steneck, N.H., Klinert, S. and Mayer, T. (Eds.), 3rd World Conference on Research Integrity, World Scientific.
      • Nebeker, C. (2014). A proposal for thinking strategically about ethics education: Applying the principles of andragogy to enhance teaching and learning about responsible conduct of research (RCR). Journal of Philosophy, Science and Law 14: 32-46.
      • Nebeker, C. (2014). Smart teaching matters! Applying the research on learning to teaching responsible conduct of research. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education 15(2): 88-91.
      • Nebeker, C. (2013). Potential impact of learning theories on lifelong learning of RCR. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity Newsletter 21(2): 1-8.
  3. Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Pervasive communication and information technologies show promise in providing more efficient and accurate methods for measuring and improving health behaviors. However, these technologies are also presenting new challenges for researchers and Institutional Review Boards (IRB) members that must be considered prospectively to ensure research that involves Mobile Imaging, pervasive Sensing, Social media and location Tracking (MISST) methods are compliant with federal regulations, ethically sound and socially responsible. Since 2013, I have collaborated with researchers, study participants and IRB members to better understand research risks, appropriate risk management strategies and methods to improve the informed consent process. We have conducted several pilot studies on MISST-Ethics - one of which was recently published and another is in press. As a result of my work in this area, I am frequently sought to consult with Institutional Review Board members and researchers alike to guide ethical and responsible research practices. Our Connected and Open Research Ethics project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop MISST-E guidelines and related resources. Select publications and plenary talks are noted below:

      • Nebeker, C., Linares-Orozco, R., and Crist, K., (2015). A multi-case study of research using mobile imaging, sensing and tracking technologies to objectively measure behavior: Ethical issues and insights to guide responsible research practice. Journal of Research Administration 46(1):118-137.
      • Nebeker, C., Barocas, S., Hancock, J., and Intille, S. (2015, November). Imagine a Human Research Protection System Responsive to 21st Century Science. Camille Nebeker, Moderator, Panel 1: Emerging ethics in social, behavioral and education research Plenary session presented at the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research, Annual Meeting in Boston, MA
      • Shiffman, S., Bradner, S. and Nebeker C. (2014, December). Using mobile imaging, sensing and tracking devices in research: Ethical challenges. Dean Gallant, Moderator, Panel IX: Science on the Move: The Use of Mobile Technologies in Human Subjects Research. Plenary session presented at the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research, Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD.
      • Intelle, S., Spruit-Metz, D., Nebeker, C. (2013, November). Ethical considerations in mHealth imaging, sensing and tracking research. Ivor Pritchard, Moderator, Someone to Watch Over Me: Mobile Device Research and the Sense of the Self. Plenary session presented at the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research, Annual Meeting in Boston, MA.
Website: Collaborative for Advancing Professional and Research Integrity (CAPRI)
Publications: http://bit.ly/C_Nebeker

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