Meet the PRIM&R Blog Squad at the 2013 AER Conference: David Van Houten

by David R. Van Houten, MS, Research Integrity Advocate

PRIM&R is pleased to introduce another member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2013 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference. The Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who will blog here, on Ampersand, about the conference to give our readers an inside peek of what’s happening November 7-9 in Boston, MA.

Those who are concerned about return on investment and ethics in biomedical research, and who have observed problems such as research misconduct, have an obligation to offer feasible solutions when they might be useful for improving ethics and integrity in research.  Earlier in my career, while in the cell biology (turned “research integrity”) doctoral program at the University of Vermont, I witnessed research misconduct and the factors that allowed it to occur. Although I did not complete the cell biology degree program, I used my observations to present a “thesis” presentation at PRIM&R’s 2010 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference. This workshop, which I facilitated, emphasized an essential pillar in the administration of research protocols: open weekly review meetings of the research team with the principal investigator.

Perhaps more than any other conference in the biomedical research field, PRIM&R’s annual AER Conference incorporates disciplines across many fields. By definition, the protection of the rights of human subjects in biomedical and clinical research requires communication of information on basic scientific techniques, clinical healthcare standards, the changing regulatory environment, and socioeconomic and local community needs.

I have attended PRIM&R’s AER Conferences in person and, when I couldn’t attend in carbon form, as a participant in PRIM&R’s Virtual Meeting. In both cases, the perspectives of those who contributed to Ampersand and who shared on Twitter helped me gain greater insight into the sessions I participated in.

I am thus looking forward to being a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad at the 2013 AER Conference and to sharing my observations and views. Among the components of this year’s conference I am especially looking forward to are:

  • Discussing ideas and challenges with attendees who work in research areas outside of my experience
  • Learning about how research professionals and research participants understand and communicate different aspects of medical practice and clinical research
  • Discovering  more about central IRB functions, the use of e-media,  and multi-site studies and IRBs
  • Reviewing the Food and Drug Administration’s guidance on remote monitoring, including indications of data falsification/fabrication

As in the past I know I will learn from fellow contributors and from other conference attendees.