Fall is now upon us, and with fall comes the fall Certified IRB Professional (CIP) exam season and the Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference. For those who took the exam, for the first time or to re-certify, I hope the process was rewarding and meaningful! For those of you who attended AER17, I hope you found it as exciting and useful as I did.
I recently took a moment to reflect upon the past year since AER16. What a whirlwind of a year it was for the IRB community! When the revisions to the Common Rule were finalized during the twilight of the Obama administration, many of us breathed a (well-deserved) sigh of relief. But then, there was essentially radio silence from the current administration regarding key components of the revised Rule. If you’re like me, you probably couldn’t wait to see what PRIM&R had in store for AER17 regarding the changes and perspectives on moving forward, and I look forward to sharing what I learned in my upcoming posts. [Ed. See primr.org/CommonRule for resources and information, and the AER17 sessions that reflect the revised Common Rule.]
On a broader scale, the past year has been momentous on several fronts within the research ethics field. We saw the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which raises many questions as it tries to make the clinical trials process more efficient. The nation was gripped by the heartbreaking story of Charlie Gard, the British infant who was denied access to an experimental treatment available in the United States. And the world marveled at the advancements of technologies in genetics research, such as CRISPR.
Personally, looked forward to learning more about all of these topics at AER17. Perhaps most intriguing to me were sessions regarding the recent advancements in genetics research. I have thought a lot about this topic lately, and even co-authored a poster at last year’s conference regarding the development of a ‘Genomics IRB’ dedicated to reviewing genetics research. This year, in my new role as IRB Manager at Northwell Health, I have been tasked with reviewing oncology research taking place across our health system. As I embrace this opportunity, learning from my experienced colleagues at this year’s conference was of tremendous value.
In closing, I want to encourage everyone reading this to become active in this organization—even after AER17! For me, participating in PRIM&R’s mentorship program has been extremely rewarding. And in fact, that is precisely how I would describe my entire experience as an active PRIM&R member: rewarding. I hope you enjoy my posts about the conference and look forward to future opportunities to connect with colleagues in the field.
Michael Rossano, BA, is the IRB Manager at Northwell Health. At Northwell, Michael is responsible for reviewing oncology research across the health system. He also has expertise in the ethics of genetic testing in research and New York State law pertaining to this issue. Michael was drawn to the human subjects protections field as part of his strong interest in research ethics. His academic interests also include health policy and global bioethics, and he is finishing a master's degree in bioethics at Columbia University. Michael recently presented a poster at PRIM&R's 2016 AER Conference, and is an active member of PRIM&R's mentorship program.