Featured Member Profile: Rebecca Banchik

Welcome to another installment of our featured member interviews where we 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 Rebecca Banchik, an IRB manager for the program for the protection of human subjects (PPHS) at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.

When and why did you join the field?

I joined the field in 2006. I started working for the IRB because a job opened up at the medical school, I was unemployed and a friend who was working as a research coordinator mentioned it to me. I liked the IRB concept and was excited about applying my undergraduate experience in psychology and research. Here I am…five years later!

What is your favorite part of your job?

One of my favorite parts of working for an IRB is feeling that I contribute to research in an important but subtle way. I know that my work affects others, and that the decisions I make have an impact on many levels—from administrator to doctor to patient.

I am most affected by the patients that are being recruited into studies. Few people know about our little IRB world. We’re the stage crew of a play—the doctors and patients are the actors getting the attention and applause, but without us, research would be a whole different game, as we know from looking back on our history.

What is the last movie you saw?

The last movie I saw was The Fighter.

What are you reading?

I am reading Intuition by Allegra Goodman. I’m actually reading this for our office book club. We read novels or non-fiction related to the research world, ethics, and some of the controversies in the work we do.

What’s your after-hours guilty pleasure?

Right now I confess—a nightly dose of Shark Week!

What do you most value in your friends?

My friends, my true friends, let me be me when I’m around them. They love me as I am, faults and all. Having company like that is invaluable.

Why did you join PRIM&R?

Our office encourages all staff to become members. I enjoy attending the PRIM&R Advancing Ethical Research Conference every year.

What would you say to someone who is considering PRIM&R membership?

Being a member of PRIM&R is a great way to stay in the loop . It’s a friendly reminder that there is a support group of others doing what we do every day. The conference also provides a place to network, educate and receive additional training.

What advice do you have for young professionals interested in pursuing a career in ethical research?

This field can be incredibly invigorating and challenging, but it doesn’t come without struggle and some frustrating moments. I think it’s important to know that there are always going to be people with higher degrees and more experience—but that doesn’t mean our work is somehow less important or less valued. It’s also meaningful to take into account that we didn’t choose this work to become wealthy or famous—we chose this path because we believe in ethics and human subjects protections.

Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Rebecca. We would love any reading suggestions from your book club, and if you’re at the 2011 Advancing Ethical Research Conference, we hope you can join us for the Research Ethics Book Group Lunch!

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