This fall marks the whirlwind one-year mark of my entry into the research compliance field, and what a year it has been! I have been fortunate to be able to attend several conferences and workshops, including PRIM&R’s IRB 101SM & 201, focused on human subjects protections and research integrity. These in-person learning experiences were invaluable but I’ve also been extremely impressed by the collegial and collaborative nature within this profession as a whole—even in the informal discussions and debate that happen on the IRB Forum and on the newly-created SBER network. These resources, available through PRIM&R, ignited my interest in research ethics questions as a whole and helped me to engage with larger issues in human subjects protection outside of my day-to-day work responsibilities.
As a Blog Squad member for the 2017 Advancing Ethical Research Conference (AER17), I’m hoping to be able to contribute to this collaborative atmosphere and share the perspective of a relative neophyte from a primarily undergraduate-focused institution (PUI). I see PRIM&R’s AER Conferences as a way to continue to develop networks of support and to gain new insights from peers—especially with an eye toward the revised Common Rule. I think that all of us in this field face challenges in deciding how to adapt our programs to the new rule, but we PUI folks face some unique challenges, given our limited resources. I started this position a year ago and am finally starting to feel like I have a handle on the regulations, only now to have to begin to assess how to update our program for the new rule. AER17 gave me a way to connect with others and learn from the experts, and I hope bring creative solutions from the conference back to my institution to improve my IRB’s processes.
Jennie Wyderko, MS, is the research compliance officer at Western Carolina University located in Cullowhee, North Carolina. She oversees and coordinates the IRB, IACUC and IBC for the campus. She is also responsible for oversight of export controls, responsible conduct of research, and conflict of interest as related to research.