Opening Day at the 2009 AER Conference!

Posted by Joan Rachlin, executive director

Thanks for joining us if you’re here in Nashville, and, if you’re not, we miss you! We’re off and running, and what a first day it was.

The day began with a therapeutic dose of stand-up comedy, compliments of Conference Co-Chairs Michele Russell-Einhorn and Bruce Gordon. Things quickly got serious, though, as three awards were presented to three very deserving individuals: Jeffrey Cohen, PhD, CIP, founder and principal partner of HRP Associates, received the ARENA Legacy Award, which recognizes a PRIM&R member who has made an exemplary contribution to the mission and goals of PRIM&R by significantly promoting the ethical conduct of research through mentoring, teaching, and leadership.
Jeff is a former ARENA (Applied Research Ethics National Association) president who has made many “exemplary contributions” to PRIM&R. He has co-chaired multiple PRIM&R and ARENA meetings, and has taught at every kind of educational forum we offer – conferences, At Your Doorstep courses, regional meetings, and webinars.

Following the presentation, Jeff cited the fact that he has only missed two PRIM&R meetings in 30 years, and that the information gained at those meetings, along with the networking that took place there, were central to the success of his career.

Bob Levine presented the PRIM&R Distinguished Service Award to Charlotte Coley, MACT, CIP, Director of IRB Educational Programs at Duke University. The DSA honors the member who has made valuable and unique contributions to the field of research ethics, and who has attained distinction in promoting the purpose and ideals of this organization through writing, teaching, and writing. Charlotte has made many contributions to PRIM&R, among them co-chairing the Workshop/Didactic Sub-Committee for the past two years, teaching at several conferences, and by sharing her deep and wide knowledge of IRB ethics and regulations with the PRIM&R community.

The final honoree was Albert Jonsen, who was the recipient of PRIM&R’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Research Ethics. This award is intended to recognize and honor individuals who have made a major and sustained contribution to the development or dissemination of the ethical principles that govern research.

The LTA has only been conferred three prior times… to Jay Katz (who, sadly, passed away last November), Charles McCarthy, and Robert Levine, all giants in the research ethics field. Al Jonsen, a moral philosopher who is widely considered to be one of the pioneers in the research ethics field and who was one of the drafters of the Belmont Report, told some warm anecdotes about the drafting process at the Belmont Conference Center in Maryland in 1978. Al thanked the audience members for translating the three Belmont principles (respect for persons, beneficence, and justice) into their daily work in protecting subjects.

Al also hosted an informal and interactive luncheon for over 100 friends and fans today. Stay tuned, and I’ll tell you more about that when next I have a chance to sit down.

Al, Jeff, and Charlotte are cherished friends of all who work in the subject protections field, and they have honored us by allowing us to honor them.

Three cheers for three spectacular FOPs (“Friends of PRIM&R).