Planning Committee Profile: Michele Russell-Einhorn, PC Co-Chair

Planning Committee (PC) Profile: Michele Russell-Einhorn, 2010 Advancing Ethical Research Conference PC Co-Chair

How might you explain your work to someone who is new to the field of research ethics?
Everything I do is geared toward making sure that any research conducted within the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) is scientifically sound and that the people who are asked to participate will only be exposed to risks that are reasonable and will be monitored carefully.

What motivated you to choose a career in research ethics?
I fell into it! I had previously been involved in human rights work in the 1970s. Sweeping ahead to the 1990s, I had an opportunity to participate on the NIH subcommittee relating to the radiation research experiments sponsored by the Department of Energy. During this time, I discovered that I had a real interest in learning more about the participation of human subjects in research.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I truly love working with people who really care about finding a cure for cancer as well as caring about the subjects involved in cancer research. I am awed by the dedication of the IRB chairs, members and investigators within the DF/HCC community who will drop everything to deal with some unforeseen issue involving the safety of a human subject in an ongoing research protocol.

How did you become involved with PRIM&R?
The first day I started work at the Office for Protection from Research Risks (OPRR), Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) being its successor, I was sent to an animal research conference in San Diego hosted by PRIM&R. Because of my work with the government, I participated in many of PRIM&R’s meetings from the earliest partof my work in the field.

What are your goals for the 2010 Advancing Ethical Research Conference?
To expose people to some of the cutting-edge issues in the work that we all do, and to help people use the conference as a place to network and develop connections.

Which topics will the conference program address that you find most intriguing, or in need of attention, especially given today’s ever-changing regulatory environment?
I find the issue of personalized medicine to be one of the most difficult. Technology has given us access to information that we may not know what to do with. Tissue banking and research on clinical data is critical to advancing research, but how do we really describe the risks and the “down stream” issues that any participant may face? Conference speakers will give us a lot of food for thought in this difficult area.

In addition to the keynotes, panels, and sessions, our conference has so many other highlights (i.e., networking events, book group discussions, meet-and-greets). What are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to networking. I’m a real people person and I enjoy seeing people I know and don’t often get a chance to see; and, I enjoy making new friends!

Where is your hometown? New Haven, Connecticut

What’s playing on your iPod? (What music do you listen to?) Simon and Garfunkel

What are you reading? The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

What is your favorite type of food? Chocolate

If you had to choose one…

Classical music or rock? Rock

Circle or square? Circle

Dogs or cats? Dogs

City or country? City

Silver or gold? Gold

Swimming or hiking? Hiking

Sweet or salty? Salty

Thanks, Michele, for sharing your thoughts. See you in San Diego!