Meet the Blog Squad: Sylvia Baedorf Kassis

PRIM&R is pleased to introduce the members of the inaugural Blog Squad at this year’s 2010 Advancing Ethical Research Conference. The Blog Squad is composed of four PRIM&R members who are devoted to blogging live from the conference. We are proud to introduce you to the next of our four Blog Squad members, Sylvia Baedorf Kassis, MPH.

When I first started attending AER in 2005, I was very green, not only to the conference, but to the entire field of research ethics. Having just started as an IRB analyst, and despite having worked as a clinical research coordinator for five years before that, it was shocking to me just how little I really knew (and understood) about the regulations and policies governing human subjects research. As a coordinator, I knew what was required based on human subjects protections training and workshops about the proper conduct of research. However, it was only as a result of my attending AER that I gained an appreciation for the scope of ethical deliberation and decision-making that applies to every single research study.Over the years I gradually gained more confidence in my regulatory and ethical expertise, first in reviewing protocols for the IRB, and now in my current position managing a clinical research education program for clinical investigators and their study teams. I find it most rewarding when, in explaining the application of some previously foreign or nebulous regulation, I get to witness the click of comprehension as the relevance to their research becomes apparent. Advancing ethical research is all about making research ethics accessible in an environment where protections can be viewed as a limitation to progress, and that’s why I enjoy the AER conference so much. It is, simply put, relevant.And so, here I am again, five years after attending my inaugural AER. Now, I’m a member of the inaugural PRIM&R Blog Squad, more firmly planted in my career in research ethics and regulatory education, definitely more knowledgeable, but still humbled by the realization that there is always so much more to learn… and I can’t wait!Let me leave you with my “top five” list of things that I am looking forward to at the 2010 AER Conference.

  1. Networking with so many like-minded individuals who care about the principles of ethical research.
  2. All the great information I’ll be able to share with the investigators at my institution.
  3. That super-cool pre-conference program on tissue banking.
  4. The Great Debate featuring Leonard Glantz.
  5. Sunny San Diego in December!

See you in California!