Featured Member Interview: Lynn Penrod

As an extension of our Member Appreciation Month series of member interviews, we will continue to introduce you to more of our members, individuals who work to advance ethical research on a daily basis. Please read on to learn more about their professional experiences, how membership helps connect them to a larger community, and what goes on behind-the-scenes in their lives!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lynn Penrod, director of human research protections and the research ethics office at the University of Alberta in Canada.

When and why did you join the field?
When the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethics in Human Research was in its gestation period, I was serving as president of SSHRC. When I returned to my home institution, the University of Alberta, I simply stayed involved, first as a member, then as chair of the arts science law research ethics board (we call them REBs in Canada), and for the past three years as director of the research ethics office.My own academic career (I’m a professor of French and a lecturer in law) has allowed the combination of theory and practice we see in the world of research ethics to keep my interest in the work very high.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Meeting all the various people involved (investigators, other administrators) not only at the University of Alberta, but across Canada through the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards (CAREB), the US, and internationally, too (through PRIM&R, for example!).

What is playing on your iPod right now?
My iPod is currently playing James Taylor and Carole King Live at the Troubadour, Martha Wainwright’s Piaf album, YoYo Ma, Bach Brandenburg Concertos, Etta James, and the various soundtracks from Glee. I grew up in Piqua, OH, just south of Lima on I-75!

What is the last movie you saw?
Just saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

What are you reading?
Currently reading George Sand’s Indiana for a paper I’m writing and just finished Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood.

What is your after-hours guilty pleasure?
Love soap operas and shopping.

Why did you join PRIM&R?
I joined PRIM&R to learn how others tackled the same issues I was facing in my position. Organizations like PRIM&R are really important for professional development (and basic training, too) in ethics research.

What is your favorite member benefit?
Various Newsletter items, the website, and, of course, the annual meetings. My very first meeting was a special one on SBER and it certainly convinced me to come back.

What would you say to someone who is considering PRIM&R membership?
I’d tell anyone considering joining PRIM&R that it’s a must for professional development. It really broadens your view of the ethics world you live in on a daily basis and provides a network of people and organizations to help out with difficult issues. I wish there were more interaction between Americans and Canadians at PRIM&R meetings—we really do have a lot in common and could learn more from each other than we currently do.

What do you believe is a key challenge facing the field of research ethics?
The biggest challenges faced today are the rapid advances being made in science that are not necessarily being met with appropriate ethical standards and procedures. Multi-site research and the extraordinary difficulties with reciprocity in reviewing research protocols as well.

Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Lynn. Let us know what you think of Glee’s next season!

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