Failures are just as important as successes: An interview with Hope Violette

by Megan Frame, Membership Coordinator

Welcome to another installment of our featured member interview series where we introduce you to more of our members-individuals who wok to advance ethical research on a daily basis. Please read on to learn about their professional experiences, perspectives on membership, and and what goes on behind-the-scenes in their lives!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hope Violette, manager of the Office of Research at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, MA.  

Megan Frame (MF): When and why did you join the field?
Hope Violette (HV): I joined the field in August 2000. I had been working as director of pharmacy in a hospital, and I was looking for a new and interesting position that would utilize my previous knowledge and skills. I liked the idea of pursuing a career in a field that would always be changing.

MF: Tell us about one or more recent articles, books, or documents that you feel are particularly relevant to the field.
HV: I recently read The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee.  I thought the book was excellent. It presented the history of oncology research in a very easy-to-read, well-written format that highlighted the setbacks and incremental shifts that have occurred in the war on cancer, as well as the issues with politics and funding. I thought it was an excellent book and a must read for anyone who is involved in oncology clinical trials.

MF: How has membership in PRIM&R’s community of research ethics professionals helped you to advance in your career?
HV: Being a member of PRIM&R has helped me stay current on regulations and best practices. The annual conferences are very well done. The presenters are very professional and I always leave with several ideas for improving the program at my institution. I also look forward to receiving PRIM&R’s Research Ethics Digest every two months because it helps me keep up to date.

MF: What advice have you found most helpful in your career?
HV: Early in my career, one of my mentors told me that if I did my job as a manager well the department would run just as smoothly when I was away as it did when I was there. This was an important lesson for me. Setting up systems that make information easily retrievable and empowering employees to make decisions are key.

MF: What is your proudest achievement?
HV: My proudest achievement in my role as manager of the Office of Research is leading the team that achieved  accreditation from the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protections Programs in 2004.  We were one of the first 12 institutions in the country to receive accreditation and also one of the first community hospitals.

MF: What is one thing you wish “the man on the street” knew about your work?
HV: Failures are just as important as successes. It is just as important to know that something does not work as it is to know that something does work. Making public what has failed will save those down the road from wasting time and energy pursuing something that will not help people. Patients benefit when researchers share negative results.

Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Hope. We look forward to seeing you at the 2013 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference!

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a member, please visit our website today.