Featured Member Interview: Penny Yarber

As part of our Member Appreciation Month, this series of Ampersand posts will introduce you to 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 Penny Yarber, CIM, regulatory specialist at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center.

When and why did you join the field?
I joined the field in April 1998 when I starting working for the St. Louis-Cape Girardeau Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) office. I worked quite a few years in the CCOP office, and then when the position became available in the IRB office at our institution I applied. That was five years ago. I have learned a lot through reading on my own and the conferences that I have attended. All the information on PRIM&R’s website has been very helpful.

What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy teaching those that are new to research, and learning more myself.

What are you reading?
I am currently reading Chasing Medical Miracles: The Promise and Perils of Clinical Trials by Alex O’Meara. This is a very interesting book about clinical trials and being a research participant.

Why did you join PRIM&R?
I joined for further education, and to keep up-to-date with new information related to research.

What is your favorite member benefit?
The conferences are very exciting. I also enjoy the PRIM&R Newsletter and RED. The webinars look very educational, but I’ve only participated in one of those several years ago. I’m hoping our institution can do that again soon.

What would you say to someone who is considering PRIM&R membership?
I have told several people about PRIM&R and about becoming a member. I tell them PRIM&R has a lot of educational resources and conferences, and I tell them about the certification.

If you were planning our next conference, who would you select as a keynote speaker?
For the next keynote speaker I would select someone—maybe several people—who have been research participants and let them tell their stories; one with a positive experience and one with a negative experience. I think it is good to hear from research participants. Someone such as Allen Hornblum, who wrote the book Sentenced to Science: One Black Man’s Story of Imprisonment in America and was discussed during the 2009 Advancing Ethical Research Conference, would be interesting. He can talk about the problems that he encountered as a prisoner and being in research trials.

What motivates you to maintain your commitment to advancing ethical research? What motivates me is the knowledge that through research, there will someday be medical treatment/drugs/cures for diseases that we don’t have cures for now.

What advice do you have for young professionals interested in pursuing a career in ethical research?
I would tell young professionals interested in research that it is a very interesting field and there is always more to learn.

What do you believe is a key challenge facing the field of research ethics?
The key challenge facing the field of research ethics is keeping up with all the new regulations and changes.

Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Penny. As a PRIM&R member, we hope you take advantage of the additional webinar discounts offered as part of Member Appreciation Month.

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