Introducing the AER15 Blog Squad: Courtney Zwieg

Courtney Zwieg: Next Generation IRB Meetings

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be a member of the Blog Squad for PRIM&R’s 2015 Advancing Ethical Research Conference (AER15). Last year was my first year attending the AER conference in Baltimore and it was, beyond a doubt, the most educational experience in my limited time in research. I’m very new to the world of IRBs and research administration and the conference helped me jump in with both feet.

During my time in Baltimore last year, the question I heard almost as much as “Where are you from?” was “How did you get into research?” I have an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and a Masters of Library and Information Science, which in and of themselves don’t exactly scream human subject research!

I was introduced to the world of medical research during my very first college course at the University of California, Riverside. I signed up for a philosophy course on biomedical ethics and I absolutely loved the time spent discussing controverted issues. I went on to get my Masters of Library and Information Science with the end goal of becoming a librarian, ideally working in a public library. After I graduated I went to interview as an IRB administrator at our local hospital system, which I truly thought was a long shot.

My unique background actually brings a different point of view to research studies. I have specific insight into the collection, management, storage, retrieval, and protection of information as I spent time in graduate school studying these areas. As we move more towards large data banks of information, I find that’s becoming more and more helpful. As a librarian I was also taught about doing meaningful research, which has come in handy when I come across study protocols that need to be “translated” into traditional English from medical english.

Being that I am not from the research world, this last year has been full of learning regulations, standard operating procedures, and so much more. PRIM&R’s AER conference last year helped me to learn a substantial amount during the sessions, as well as from other IRB professionals. It also helped me to connect and network with other young professionals. This year, I hope to learn much more at AER15, as our hospital system has a merger on the horizon with another large research hospital system, and we are developing and implementing a fully electronic IRB management system.

As a member of the blog squad, I hope to offer a rookie’s outlook on AER15. I’m looking forward to seeing you in Boston! Keep an eye out for the red Blog Squad t-shirt.

Learn more about our AER15 Blog Squad members here.

Courtney Zwieg, regulatory coordinator at NorthShore University HealthSystem, is a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2015 AER Conference. The PRIM&R Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who blogged here, on Ampersand, to give our readers an inside peek of what happened at the conference in Boston, MA.