Daniel K. Nelson and Joan Rachlin honored for their extraordinary achievements in the field of research ethics

PRIM&R succeeds in advancing ethical research because of the work of the committed and professionals who comprise its membership. In November, at the 2013 Advancing Ethical Research Conference, we were pleased to recognize the tremendous achievements of two of our members whose contributions have been instrumental to fulfilling PRIM&R’s mission.

Daniel K. Nelson, MSc, CIP, was the recipient of the 2013 Applied Research Ethics National Association (ARENA) Legacy Award, which recognizes individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the mission and goals of PRIM&R by significantly promoting the ethical conduct of research through mentoring, teaching, and leadership. Mr. Nelson’s remarkable and resolute devotion to the welfare of research subjects is evident in his ongoing commitment to PRIM&R, including his service as the president of ARENA in 2002; as a member of the Council for Certification of IRB Professionals (CCIP); as a speaker for countless PRIM&R conferences; and as a member of several conference planning committees.

Mr. Nelson is currently a professor of social medicine, an adjunct professor of pediatrics, and the director of the Office of Human Research Ethics at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill. Mr. Nelson has also contributes to the field as co-chair for the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections, Subpart A, since 2005; and as a charter member of the Association for Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP).

In her presentation of the award, Susan Z. Kornetsky, MPH, spoke to Mr. Nelson’s leadership: “Dan, you appreciate things that are well built and crafted, but you are also willing to refresh and refurbish. You can combine the new and the old, and you have vision. In your professional life, I have seen you do that time and time again. You value the well-based principles of The Belmont Report, but you’re not afraid to lead, teach, and think creatively, and think outside of the box.” Mr. Nelson received his award humbly, reflecting on the collective achievements that have resulted from collaboration within the field, such as the growth of PRIM&R’s annual AER Conferences, the development of the CIP credential, and the creation of AAHRPP.

On the final day of the 2013 AER Conference, PRIM&R presented Joan Rachlin, JD, MPH, with the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Research Ethics, an award established in 2000 to recognize and honor individuals who have made major and sustained contributions to the development and dissemination of the ethical principles that govern research.

As executive director of PRIM&R, Ms. Rachlin has brought to life hundreds of conferences and educational events, and labored tirelessly to provide research professionals with the education and tools needed to protect human subjects. Through her compassion, extraordinary ability to nurture relationships and collaborate, and her drive to constantly improve, Ms. Rachlin nurtured PRIM&R from a small, fledgling group of Boston-based individuals committed to advancing ethical research into a large thriving community of members throughout the United States and abroad. Ms. Rachlin’s unwavering commitment to the field has undeniably and irrevocably shaped the landscape of research ethics education in the United States and abroad.

PRIM&R Board Chair Alexander M. Capron presented the award to Ms. Rachlin and reflected on her entry into the field: “We salute both the vision to see what needed to be done and perseverance to see that it got done. In the early days, this involved playing all the roles on her own from a borrowed desk. In recent years, it has meant assembling, coaching, and inspiring the spectacular team that makes PRIM&R events both personally and professionally rewarding for all of us.” With a look of gratitude, Ms. Rachlin accepted her award and shared her appreciation for all those who have helped and supported her.

PRIM&R is immensely grateful for the unwavering commitment of both Mr. Nelson and Ms. Rachlin, and is proud to have acknowledged and celebrated their exceptional accomplishments at the 2013 AER Conference.