Featured Member Profile: Kimberly Volarcik

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 Kimberly Volarcik, RN, executive director of research compliance at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.

When and why did you join the field?
I joined the office of research compliance at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in November 2004. I previously worked in the department of genetics at University Hospitals of Cleveland/CWRU assisting two researchers, coordinating their human research programs. Both investigators decided to leave the university in 2004. Since I wanted to stay in Cleveland, I looked at my career opportunities and decided to make the transition from clinical research coordination to research administration.

What is your favorite part of your job?
As CWRU’s research compliance officer, I enjoy helping investigators and their study teams move their research forward. I also enjoy collaborating with the two CWRU-based institutional review boards (IRBs) and the four CWRU-affiliated hospital IRBs.

What are you reading?
I am currently reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I was very moved by Rebecca Skloot’s keynote address at the 2010 Advancing Ethical Research Conference in December. I ordered the book so I could find out first-hand about the multitude of ethical issues that confronted the researchers who took Henrietta’s cells and the industry that profited from them for more than 20 years.

Why did you join PRIM&R?
I joined PRIM&R because it is such a strong and independent organization within the research administration community. It is important for me to be a part of a dedicated organization, to continue my professional growth, and to keep up with changes in regulations and ethical issues that arise in human subject research and recombinant DNA studies.

What is your favorite member benefit?
The monthly Newsletter and e-mails that PRIM&R sends to its members. This correspondence helps me stay up to date on changing regulations and be exposed to new ideas and ethical issues.

What would you say to someone who is considering PRIM&R membership?
To those pondering joining PRIM&R, I would strongly urge them to do so. PRIM&R is a wonderful organization that not only helps administrators train investigators and research teams, but also takes a great stance on education, and maintains a high level of ethical debates and concepts.

What motivates you to maintain your commitment to advancing ethical research?
I am motivated to maintain my commitment to advancing ethical research because of my background as a registered nurse and my work in the field of genetics. These experiences have taught me not only the importance of advancing science and medical technology, but of doing so in a safe and compassionate manner.

Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Kimberly. If you would like to be re-inspired by the 2010 AER Conference, you can watch select sessions via our online Conference Portal. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a member, please visit our website today.