Featured Member Profile: Jeffrey Kretsch

Welcome to another installment of our featured member interviews where 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 Jeffrey Kretsch, technical director at Raytheon BBN Technologies in Virginia.

When and why did you join the field?
I got into this field in 2005 when my work required the use of human subjects. I knew nothing about this; it was a real eye-opener for me that these types of issues existed. After I retired, I decided I liked the work and chose to continue with it.

What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy taking a research task and seeing what the balance is between what the researchers were attempting to accomplish and the costs to the subjects who participated. Even in the short time that I have worked in this field, I have seen an apparent shift toward making sure research isn’t stifled by maintaining human subjects protections. I enjoy finding a proper balance between protecting human subjects and allowing work to go on that provides useful benefits.

What are you reading?
I like history—I am reading The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry. He does such a good job of bringing to life the people who created our modern system of medicine and how they tried to address the pandemic. Experiments were routinely done on prisoners and service personnel that would never be allowed today. The book demonstrates how two conflicting goals, protecting the population and conducting a war, resulted in a bad situation becoming much worse.

Why did you join PRIM&R?
I like the conferences PRIM&R puts together, especially the keynote speaker presentations. These speeches always highlight what is at stake in this field.

What is your favorite member benefit?
Reading the publications and bulking up my library with the books I purchase at all of the conferences!

What would you say to someone who is considering PRIM&R membership?
I have actually encouraged one of my sisters to get into this field, and one of the things I was thinking of doing was offering her a membership to PRIM&R to help her get her started in the field.

What motivates you to maintain your commitment to advancing ethical research?
I think this is a debt we owe to the human subjects who suffered or died because researchers could not or would not respect their rights. It is a small thing compared to all that these subjects lost, but at least they can know that our work is a result of a difference they made to the world, and in that sense they are not forgotten.

Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Jeffrey. We hope you take advantage of the rewards offered in our Refer a Colleague Program should your sister become a member.

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