Meet the PRIM&R Blog Squad: Wendy Tate

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 second of the four Blog Squad members, Wendy Tate, PSM, CIP®.

I really dislike starting introductions with “Hello, my name is Wendy Tate.” It feels generic and impersonal. So, my name is above, and here’s my real story.

I am the assistant director, process improvement and compliance for the University of Arizona (UA) human subjects protection program in Tucson, AZ. You should know that I am a diehard Wildcat (even before we had a nationally ranked football team, and after our nationally ranked basketball team tanked). I received both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in molecular and cellular biology and applied biosciences, respectively, from the University of Arizona. I started working at UA as an undergraduate student and continue to do so. I have worked specifically in human subjects regulations for more than four years now, and I love it. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I truly feel I have found my occupational passion.

What else do you want to know? Here are some facts that I’d like to share:

PRIM&R member status: Of course I’m a member (and have been since 2008)!
Family: I have a husband and three young kids.
Hobbies: I enjoy camping, hiking, running, yoga, and reading science books. (I don’t do fiction.)
Favorite book of 2010: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (required reading for all human subjects professionals, in my honest opinion)
Favorite regulation: I got you! Did you really think I would have only one favorite? They’re all awesome!
Favorite TV show(s): How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory
Random fact: I have never lived further than 30 miles from where I was born.

This will be my third time attending AER. I attended in 2006, in Washington DC, after being in human subject protections for only four months. It was an overwhelming and exciting experience filled with knowledge I took the IRB 101sm pre-conference program, and was enamored by meeting the faculty that I had only read about before. It wasn’t until 2009 that I was able to attend the conference again, this time in Nashville, and it was so invigorating to have a similar experience.

I attend AER to network and expand my knowledge base; but also, I attend because I think the best way to protect human subjects and grow an ethical research program at my home institution is to see what others are doing, be challenged to think outside the box, and brainstorm new ideas. It is so easy to believe that your institution is the only one facing issues with researchers, sponsors, and ethics, and that there is only one way to solve the issue. The AER Conference is a great place to meet others and to remember that no matter where you are in the world, you are probably experiencing the same ethical, regulatory, and efficacy issues as others. You will make some good friends and solve a problem or two at the same time.

As my staff will tell you (and probably my family too), once you get me talking about regulations and bioethics, it takes awhile to quiet me down. I love a good debate, and will take on any topic. That is why I applied for the Blog Squad. I want to relay the enthusiasm and depth of knowledge that AER provides to others, and maybe even start a debate. I hope you enjoy this journey as much as I do, and I look forward to discussing all the happenings with you before, during, and after the conference.