This year marks a significant year in the field of research compliance, not just because we’ve had to learn and adapt to very different ways of approaching our roles working and connecting remotely, but also because we’ve had to embrace technology in research more than ever. Technology has advanced in its own right, but it has also taken on a central role in our daily lives as both researchers and research administrators are working from home in the midst of a pandemic.
It has been a year and a half since we’ve made this transition, and I think we need to take a pause and give ourselves a generous pat on the back. We’ve had to quickly adapt to a new way of thinking and working, reaching out across the regulatory compliance field and sharing resources, knowledge, and expertise between colleagues across the nation and world. Together, we’ve found ways to ensure that research can continue efficiently, ethically, and responsibly in virtual and hybrid settings.
As we’ve adapted and expanded our approach to research compliance and how we do that from remote locations, we’ve come to see just how much all bodies of the regulatory world are interconnected and rely upon each other. From privacy to technology risk, to grants and contracts, all the way to on-site laboratory services, we’ve broken down siloed thinking and come together remotely. We identify ways in which we can further advance ethics across the research spectrum, encouraging ideas and resource sharing, and opening the lines of communication among offices and personnel involved in the various aspects of research oversight. We’ve come to realize just how interconnected we are and how critical operation and coordination across these separate but related programs is.
While this year is particularly unique in that it speaks more about my favorite topic—novel technology and ethics—as always, the PRIM&R Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference truly represents this concept of coming together to network, learn, and grow as a team. In my 16 years of attending PRIM&R conferences, I’ve always walked away with more knowledge and a deeper understanding of the ever-evolving research regulations, and how I can do my job better. I also walk away with more support and resources through networking. And so, with much gratitude, I look forward to learning from all my colleagues, once again, at the 2021 AER Conference!
Tamiko T. Eto, MS, CIP, is the Division of Research Manager for Compliance, Privacy, and IRB Support Services at the Permanente Medical Group of Kaiser Permanente, Northern California. She has over 16 years of experience in human subjects research protections. Prior to that, Tamiko served as Acting Director at Stanford Research Institute’s (SRI) Office of Research Integrity and Chair of the SRI IRB. She leverages her experience to implement regulatory policies to health care research projects that delve into AI and novel technology research.
Tamiko works closely with AI researchers and institutional/regulatory bodies in addressing ethical and regulatory challenges related to AI, and has developed tools and checklists for IRBs to use in their review of AI research. She also actively collaborates on research, in an effort to be at the forefront of developing an ethical and regulatory framework for research involving human subjects.