PRIM&R’s Diversity Advisory Group and Resources


PRIM&R’s Diversity Advisory Group (DAG) works to advance PRIM&R’s goal of promoting a diverse and inclusive environment. It advises PRIM&R staff on strategies for fostering a membership community where differences can flourish and works to raise the profile of diversity as an issue that matters to the broader research oversight field.

Formed in 2011, the DAG has contributed to PRIM&R’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion across the organization, primarily in the areas of curriculum development, data collection, leadership development, promotion of diversity as a core value, scholarships, and speaker development. The group created a set of demographic questions for PRIM&R’s constituents so that the organization could determine their demographic makeup in order to promote further diversity. Over the years, the DAG has assisted PRIM&R in creating its diversity statement; presented sessions focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion at PRIM&R’s annual conferences; offered their expertise to conference speakers; and more.

The DAG strives to ensure that PRIM&R’s core value of diversity is supported. One effort includes the ongoing curation of a robust resource page, which includes:

  • Posts from PRIM&R’s blog, Ampersand – Launched in 2008, posts on Ampersand tagged with “diversity” address justice, diversity, inclusion, and other related topics.
  • Content from Annual Conferences – PRIM&R makes select diversity-related content from the annual AER and IACUC conferences complimentary for all. These resources may be helpful for stimulating discussion and providing suggestions for improving practices at your institution. Included are:
    • The AER20 keynote address from Wylie Burke, from the University of Washington’s Department of Bioethics and Humanities: Learning from Communities about Diversity and Justice. Whether you are just hearing about the Havasupai case, or have watched the case evolve over time, Dr. Burke’s presentation provides details about the case, a broad perspective on possible group harms (both short and long term), and the importance of community involvement.
    • Talks from Elisa A. Hurley, PhD, PRIM&R’s Executive Director, at AER20 and AER19 reflecting on justice and the applicability of the Belmont Report’s ethical framework in today’s research context.
  • Increasing the Public’s Understanding of Clinical Research,” an episode of More than Meets the IRB podcast (a joint initiative of Washington University in St. Louis and PRIM&R) – Giselle Corbie-Smith, MD, MSc, and Margo Michaels, MPH, discuss why minority groups are less likely to participate in research.

PRIM&R’s 2020 Black Lives Matter statement acknowledged that “the research enterprise has a distinct obligation to grapple with systemic racism” and one way that PRIM&R is committed to acting against racism is by sharing information. The DAG encourages members of the PRIM&R community to support the expansion of resources by contributing suggestions. These can be made by emailing

Tonya Ferraro, MEd, is the Senior IRB QI Consultant of the Education and Quality Improvement Program (EQuIP) at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). Her responsibilities include educational outreach, new/transfer PI trainings, study reviews/audits, and assisting in BCH’s reaccreditation effort. She is a member of Harvard Catalyst’s subcommittees: Emerging Technologies, Ethics, and Research and QA/QI, and also serves on PRIM&R’s Diversity Advisory Group. In addition to her IRB work, she is a Boston Korean Adoptee Board Member providing educational programming on considerations when participating in research and adoptee related empirical research. Tonya is particularly curious about intersectionality, creative approaches to research design and compliance, and fostering partnerships within the research community.

Chris Witwer, CIP, is a policy analyst with 20 years’ experience in academic, non-profit, governmental and commercial HRPPs. Chris serves on PRIM&R’s Council of Certified IRB Professionals (CCIP), is a volunteer Diversity Advisory Group member, and a chapter co-author for Institutional Review Board: Management and Function, 3rd Edition.