I’m very excited about the opportunity to be a member of the Blog Squad for the 2017 Advancing Ethical Research Conference (AER17). As an IRB coordinator at Arizona State University, I attended my first AER conference in 2016, and I learned that the best part of PRIM&R is the community it builds. Through conference sessions and roundtables, PRIM&R brings together stakeholders from across the spectrum—policy makers, board members, staff, researchers—to discuss, present, debate, and learn from one another. The AER conferences give us incredible opportunities to converse and come to collaborative understandings of regulations and ethical considerations surrounding human subjects protections. With changes being implemented soon, learning from one another will be more important than ever.

The first thing I learned from the community at AER16 that everyone has their own unique story of how they discovered research ethics. Mine begins as a graduate student helping to improve the IRB website content at a small Midwestern university. After discovering how interesting IRBs were I began to ask questions, and the chair invited me to a IRB meeting to see how things operated. Shortly after that, I became an IRB member. After graduating, I got a job as staff at the Arizona State University IRB where I’ve been working for the last two and a half years. The reason I love my job now is the same reason I started in research protections: I love learning new things every day.

From AER17, I’m excited to share what I  discussed with and learned from other IRB professionals. I hope you enjoy the social, behavioral, and educational research (SBER) perspective I will bring you through my posts and I look forward to connecting and sharing what I've learned with you!

Erik Williams is a compliance specialist at Arizona State University. He has been a staff member at Arizona State University for the last two and a half years. Prior to that, he was a student board member for three years at University of Wisconsin Eau Claire while working on his MA in English Literature. His focus is on SBER research and issues and he is a contributing member of the SBER network.

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