I had the pleasure of attending PRIM&R’s IRB Administrator Boot Camp (including IRB 101 and 201) in Chicago and it was a great experience!
I began working in an IRB office in 2011 and have just over seven years of experience to date. While IRB 101 is promoted as being most suitable for new administrators, I still found the information presented to be extremely valuable.
All of us are facing new challenges and uncertainties with the Common Rule update and it is difficult to anticipate how changes will be implemented in the future. It was reassuring to hear that other institutions are optimistic about future transitions, especially concerning the not-so-distant single IRB mandate. I found that IRB 101 was helpful in re-affirming my regulatory knowledge and useful in learning about best practices at other institutions. For example, one of the presenters explained that whenever there is a new investigator (who will be doing research that involves intervention/interaction) at their institution, a dedicated person from the IRB schedules a one-on-one consultation with them and describes the process for conducting research and submitting applications for IRB review. This process could be advantageous at any institution and would likely improve the IRB submission experience for research teams and result in better applications for IRB staff and board members to review.
I admire the wealth of compiled resources that were provided by the presenters. Many of the templates and samples can serve as a springboard for generating materials that could be effective at other institutions, especially those who may be in the process of developing written policies and forms. I appreciate that the presenters touted the importance of being dedicated to customer service and having a positive attitude. It is easy to be cynical and frustrated when issues arise, but by maintaining a positive attitude I can improve my interactions with the research community and try to find acceptable and appropriate solutions.
I feared networking earlier in my career, but now realize that it is a wonderful opportunity to learn from others. I was able to exchange contact information with several colleagues and understand more about the structure and functions of other IRBs. It is very beneficial to generate new connections and know that you can reach out to others in the future to brainstorm ideas. After all, what other event can you attend in which so many people actually understand what your job entails? The IRB 101 portion of the program is a tremendously helpful introduction to fundamental regulatory information and provides a remarkable environment to network with many IRB professionals.
Megan Boyt, CIP, is a Regulatory Analyst in the IRBMED office at the University of Michigan. She pre-reviews biomedical IRB applications from various departments and helps coordinate full board meetings. Megan serves as a liaison between board members and the research community and strives to be an effective facilitator. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, she worked as a Research Compliance Specialist at Wayne State University. Megan has worked in the IRB realm since 2011.
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.