A glimpse into the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

PRIM&R is pleased to bring you a post from Mindy Reeter, a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad at the 2011 Advancing Ethical Research Conference. The PRIM&R Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who are devoted to blogging prior to, live from, and after our conferences.

Wow! I am still in awe of three presenters at the 2011 Advancing Ethical Research Conference session titled, Staff Report from the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (PCSBI). It was led by Valerie Bonham, Kayte Spector-Bagdady and Michelle Groman, three smart, passionate women who are a part of the PCSBI.

Michelle presented information on the PCSBI’s December 2011 review of contemporary issues and concerns in human subjects protections.

The PCSBI sought to conduct an inventory of all ongoing, federally-funded research. In doing so, however, they discovered that this information is not easily accessible. The PCSBI had to reach out to all 18 agencies that adhere to the “Common Rule” and ask them individually to report any ongoing research within their agency.

Since some agencies had no requirements to track this information, hours of preparation were required for this project. The PCSBI subsequently uncovered tens of thousands of active, federally-funded research studies. The inventory of these research projects does not indicate how ethically these studies are being conducted, but is a good first step toward transparency.

I usually leave PRIM&R with some ideas of how to improve my office, but this year I went home with a broader understanding of the research enterprise, rather than just the institutional review board portion of the field. Instead of feeling like I had been told what changes may occur with the regulations, I felt as though I actually understood how and why those changes were being considered.