2019 IRB Administrator Boot Camp: Preparing for Evolving Challenges

IRB Administrators face evolving challenges in their day-to-day work, especially around setting clear expectations for human research protection policies and clearly communicating those policies to researchers with diverse skill sets in an ever-changing world.

These daily IRB obligations are compounded as we seek to support researchers engaging with participants in constrained contexts. For example, the lived experiences of undocumented immigrants are of increasing interest for scholars. They have presented insights into how undocumented immigrant families and their children celebrate accomplishments and persist despite numerous challenges. Some researchers are reporting on the civic actions of young immigrants, their collaborative practices, and educational strategies. The migration experience dramatically reshapes the lives of immigrants. Their status makes undocumented immigrants vulnerable to social exploitation, deportation, and employer extortion.

Additionally, there is a growing interest in international research within developing countries. While essential to understanding diverse perspectives and experiences, international research is enmeshed with complex ethical issues. In research settings, people are asked to assume risk and inconvenience in the interest of advancing knowledge designed to benefit individuals and society. Exploitation avoidance, unfair distribution of benefits, and potential coercion may be more challenging in international than in domestic research because of background educational or language differences, disparities in health, monetary resources, and power between developed and developing countries.

In September 2019, I attended PRIM&R’s IRB Administrator Boot Camp in Orlando, Florida to strengthen my skills and learn strategies for successfully carrying out daily responsibilities related to IRB oversight and the protection of participants in constrained contexts. I also benefited from talking with other IRB administrators, sharing ideas and experiences.

Stay tuned for my next post on my takeaways from the first course at the boot camp, IRB Administrator 101.

Myra Luna-Lucero, EdD, is a Research Compliance Manager at the Teacher’s College of Columbia University. As a researcher and teacher, people are her highest priority and she instinctively communicates personal concern with others. She is an adept communicator who thrives on face-to-face interactions with a diverse body of students, faculty, and staff. She brings these qualities to her work to empower others to make informed decisions and reach their goals. She encourages researchers to ponder the roles they might play in the alleviation of the troubling inequities that continue to shape our world. She guides researchers on how to treat everyone as autonomous decision-makers who possess unique opinions. I present campus workshops on the importance of ethics, confidentiality, and protecting vulnerable populations. She meets individually with researchers to strategize ways to protect human subjects and do good work in the world.

Members of PRIM&R’s Blog Squad and other guest contributors are valued members of our community willing to share their insights. The views expressed in their posts do not necessarily reflect those of PRIM&R or its employees.