Eleven from ’11: The posts that continue to affect our daily work

by Avery Avrakotos, Education and Policy Coordinator

Professionals engaged in the protection of human and animal subjects felt the tides of change in 2011: The Department of Health and Human Services  proposed an overhaul to the regulations governing human subjects protections. Across the country, people provided feedback and comments on the proposed change; the animal care and use community reacted when the National Institutes of Health suspended all new grants for research involving chimpanzees. These are just two of the stories that characterized the landscape of research protections in 2011.

Below, we have selected a roundup of 11 Ampersand posts that we hope grabbed your attention, incited conversation, and prompted reflection:

    1. Research in the midst of tragedy by Wendy Tate, PSM, CIP – This guest blogger reflected on the challenges of research in emergency situations in the wake of the attempted assassination of Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords.


    1. They entered my home without my consent by Andy Burman – A home invasion brought the importance of consent into perspective for a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad at the 2010 AER Conference.


    1. Preparing the next generation of professionals in human subjects research by Nick Slack, MBE – This guest blogger shared his vision for the future professionalization of the field of human subjects protections.


    1. Tracing the roots of research ethics by Sylvia Baedorf Kassis, MPH – With history as her backdrop, this Blog Squad member urged readers to take a look back and remember the role of ethics professionals in past atrocities.


    1. Human embryonic stem cell research: Court victory, but challenges remain by Melinda Abelman, MSc, CIP – In May, a US Court of Appeals overruled the ban on government funding for embryonic stem cell research. The embryonic stem cell research oversight manager at Partners Healthcare System shared her view on the ruling.


    1. That’s why they call them trials by Barbara Brenner – Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), this post’s author offered a unique view on clinical trials from the perspective of a potential participant.


    1. Thirty years of trials, failures, leadership, and inspiration – 2011 marked 30 years since the emergence of HIV. This piece excerpts speeches given by two early leaders in the fight against HIV, Jonathan Mann, MD, MPH, and C. Everett Koop, MD, ScD.


    1. Featured member profile: Julie Washington – After witnessing her mother’s plight as a research subject, this PRIM&R member devoted her career to human subjects protections.


    1. PRIM&R’s comments on the ANPRM by Elisa Hurley, PhD – PRIM&R responded to the DHHS advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) with a set of comments addressing many of the document’s proposals and questions . 


    1. ‘Science Times’ synthesis – With two important reports released within a single week, the December 23 edition of Ampersand’s ‘Science Times’ synthesis was brimming with news for both the animal and human subjects communities.


    1. Could the Bioethics Commission’s criteria for ethical study design become central to an IRB’s deliberation? by Elisa Hurley, PhD – The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues released a report containing 14 recommendations for increasing human subjects protections. PRIM&R’s education director explored the ethical questions that the report raised regarding study design.


With 2012 well underway, there are a host of new pieces around the corner, and we urge you to stay tuned to the discussion in this forum. If you have a topic or a piece you’re interested in sharing, please contact us. In the meantime, we encourage you to share your favorites from 2011. What pieces left you thinking long after the reading was done?