PRIM&R has a special place in my heart as I come to this year’s 2016 Advancing Ethical Research Conference (AER16); it’s my second annual PRIM&R conference and my first work anniversary. That’s right: I was lucky enough to receive my first rigorous human subjects protections training at PRIM&R’s AER15 pre-conference program, IRB 101, in my first month of the job as Westat’s IRB Research Operations Assistant. While still getting settled into my office in Maryland, I traveled with my supervisor to Boston to get the bulk of my introductory training. I was told not to worry—the pre-conference IRB 101 course might be overwhelming, but it would be best to dive right into learning human subjects protections, because there is just so much to it.
There is a lot to it, more than I could have imagined. Thankfully, the wonderful presenters at IRB 101 were fully aware of the magnitude of the information they were sharing—which could easily warrant a several-week course—and somehow presented the content in a way that was easy to follow without cutting corners. There were breakout sections, practice protocols, and roundtable discussions, all designed to make the course content more manageable. Looking back, I don’t know how they fit it all into one day, but they pulled it off. I still find myself referring to my notes from that course, which set the foundation for future on-the-job learning and training I received back home.
I left PRIM&R’s conference last year with a solid foundation for human subjects protections, a deeper and ignited interest in contemporary ethical issues, and more conference freebies than would comfortably fit in my carry-on. After the wonderful experience at AER15 last year that hooked me into this field, I look forward to exploring this year’s conference and IRB 201 pre-conference course, moving forward to my second year of education at PRIM&R and my second year on the job. I’ll be sure to let you know how it all unfolds!
Sydney Boone, IRB research operations assistant at Westat, is a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2016 AER Conference. The PRIM&R Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who are blogging here, on Ampersand, to give our readers an inside peek of what’s happening at the conference in Anaheim, CA.