Meet the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2014 AER Conference: Anita Pascoe

by Anita Pascoe, MS, CIP, Project Coordinator at Intermountain Healthcare

PRIM&R is pleased to introduce Anita Pascoe, MS, CIP, a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2014 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference. The PRIM&R 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 December 4-7 in Baltimore, MD. 

Hello! My name is Anita Pascoe, and I am a card-carrying IRB professional, a full-time graduate student, an enthusiastic writer, and a very excited soon-to-be third time attendee at PRIM&R’s annual Advancing Ethical Research Conference (aptly titled Reflecting on the Past, Shaping the Future), which will be held in Baltimore, MD next month. I was thrilled to receive the email stating that I had been accepted as a PRIM&R Blog Squad member and I cannot wait to blog about my impressions of the conference and the ideas and information I gain from the sessions and connections with other conference attendees.

Reflecting on my past, my first introduction to research ethics came during the mid-80s when I was a nursing student in my native Norway. I became fascinated by an ongoing and heated national debate regarding active and passive euthanasia. Zoom forward a couple of decades, following a move to the United States, I enrolled in an undergraduate medical ethics course at the University of Utah. The rest is history. I have been hooked ever since.

I was introduced to the quirky world of IRB regulations, processes, and procedures roughly four years ago, when I joined the IRB staff at Intermountain Healthcare. During my first week at the office, I was quite stunned to see the giant piles of paper applications we couriered to our committee members for review every month. Since then, we have thankfully transitioned to the modern era and traded our largely paper-based process for a more efficient and fully electronic review system. Along the way, I have gained a great deal of insight into the whys and wherefores of IRB work and its inherent challenges, complexities, and opportunities.

I am passionate about ethics in general and human subjects research protections in particular. As a project coordinator for the IRB, I spend most of my work hours processing and appraising clinical research applications. In my other life, as a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Utah, I have a vested academic interest in social studies and related research pursuits. I left last year’s AER Conference in Boston full of new ideas for my personal research and inspiration for how we could improve processes and procedures at my organization back home in Utah. This year, I am particularly looking forward to attending sessions related to the design of effective quality improvement/quality assurance programs. I am also hoping to learn more about how we can foster continued engagement from our IRB members and staff.

I hope you can tell that I am eagerly anticipating this year’s conference and cannot wait to meet my fellow PRIM&R Blog Squad members, as well as the conference speakers, poster presenters, and attendees. The inspiration and motivation I gain at the conference will surely fuel me through months of post-conference mental gymnastics. Good morning, Baltimore!

Check back and use this link to read more of Anita’s posts throughout the conference.