Welcome to another installment of our featured member profiles, where we will introduce you to some our members—individuals who work to advance ethical research on a daily basis. In honor of Member Appreciation Month, we will be introducing you to a couple of our members each week throughout the month of May.
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 Andria Whited, research monitor and protocol manager at the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc.
When and why did you join the field?
I joined the field a little over a year ago. When I graduated from the Columbia School of Social Work, I began working as a project coordinator at the New York State Psychiatric Institute for an investigator involved in bringing mental health awareness to the juvenile justice system. Thus, my interaction with institutional review boards (IRBs) began. Several years later when a position with the IRB at the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. became available, I seized the opportunity. Ethics is a big part of an education in social work, so it made sense for me to transition to the IRB.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I feel great satisfaction when investigators thank me for doing my job. Sometimes the relationship between IRBs and investigators can be strained, so when an investigator recognizes my intention to help, I am delighted.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness, to me, is feeling contented in my daily life and being grateful for my relationships.
What are you reading? I’m currently reading Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations for my book club.
What's your after-hours guilty pleasure?
My after-hours guilty pleasure is to read romance novels.
Why did you join PRIM&R?
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the annual PRIM&R conference, so I joined for that reason.
What is your favorite member benefit?
Attending the annual conference was fantastic. I learned a lot. Looking ahead, I want to take advantage of the educational opportunities PRIM&R offers to prepare for Certified IRB Professional (CIP®) certification, as I will sit for that exam next year.
What would you say to someone who is considering PRIM&R membership?
PRIM&R offers a lot of opportunities for learning outside of their annual conferences. I’ve attended a few webinars and found them very helpful. So even if you can’t attend the annual conference one year, membership offers several other ways to continue your education.
What motivates you to maintain your commitment to advancing ethical research?
The field is changing all the time and current thinking advances, so it’s important to stay abreast of what is happening in the field and how others are handling the issues.
What do you believe is a key challenge facing the field of research ethics?
One current challenge is the use of social media in research—how to utilize it wisely while protecting human subjects.
Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Andria. We look forward to seeing you at a future conference!
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a member, please visit our website today.