Featured Member Interview: Jennifer Pacheco

As part of our Member Appreciation Month, we’re launching a series of Ampersand posts that will introduce you to our members, who work to advance ethical research on a daily basis. Please read on to learn more about their professional experiences, how membership helps connect them to a larger community, and what goes on behind-the-scenes in their lives!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Pacheco, BS, CIM, IRB analyst at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA.

When and why did you join the field?
In 2004 I began work at a former General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) in Boston, MA. I had just graduated from college and wanted to use my former experience in the medical community to continue to help others. In 2006, I jumped into work for the IRB and have never looked back. What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part is the challenges. I go by the philosophy that no two research projects are the same, and we always have something to learn from the process and the project itself.

What’s your after-hours guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasures are Lindt chocolate and quality time with my husband and kids (four years and three months). Why did you join PRIM&R?
PRIM&R was recommended to me by a former colleague to further my education in the research field. It was considered a valuable tool for our office, and after becoming a member and attending a conference myself, I was able to see how valuable it was to me.
What is your favorite member benefit?
Do I have to pick just one? The mentoring program, the networking, and the educational programs are all helpful. All of PRIM&R’s programs help with the large territory we have to cover in the field, and the new perspectives on the regulations and their practiced applications are always helpful. I love being pushed to think outside the box. What would you say to someone who is considering PRIM&R membership?
In this field, PRIM&R membership is essential. Membership includes you in a community that is interested in the same outcome: the ethical practice of research. Research is a unique field that many only understand once they become a part of it. Make as many connections as you can, and utilize the knowledge members are willing to share. Through PRIM&R, I have learned you may have more to offer than you think, and that there will always be another member willing to share the expertise you are missing.
What advice do you have for young professionals interested in pursuing a career in research ethics?
First, be ready for a challenge. Some aspects of the field feel like they are changing constantly. Second, always be willing to learn. Every project is different.

And finally, I would have to echo [PRIM&R board member] Pearl O’Rourke, who I had the pleasure of hearing at the 2008 Advancing Ethical Research Conference: “Know what you don’t know. Know where to find the answer. And, respect the source.” She’s so right! It’s too large of a field to know every detail about everything that comes before you.

Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Jennifer. We hope to see you at our upcoming 2010 Advancing Ethical Research Conference where we would like to not only share your expertise, but your Lindt chocolate as well!

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a member, please visit our website today.