Planning your 2011 AER Conference experience

It’s hard to believe that in a few days I will be bound for the airport and off to AER 2011. Going to a PRIM&R conference is like a breath of fresh air. It gives me a chance to “get outta Dodge,” and to gather with others that have chosen this career path. It’s always amazing to me that there are thousands of other people that do what I do. It’s rare that I find anyone who can rattle off the regs like I can, but at PRIM&R events I find a convention center full of “reg geeks” just like me, but with new ideas!

Now that I have “ANPRM” rolling off my tongue like butter, it will be my four-day PRIM&R goal to know the 23 separate proposals and 74 questions of the ANPRM intimately. I’m also dying to know what HRPP professionals really think about the proposed changes to the “Common Rule.” 

I’ve considered emulating Ivor Pritchard and trying to come up with a “Four Days of PRIM&R” rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” about the ANPRM as a conference opener, but I don’t play the ukulele, harmonica, or anything else, so doubt I’d be as riveting!

If you’re left scratching your head about all this, ANPRM stands for Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and is the federal government’s way of proposing changes and collecting public comments on an issue.  OHRP has a really nice table comparing the existing rules with some of the changes being considered. 

Huron Consulting Group put on a really helpful webinar in September, offering additional insight into the ANPRM proposal by polling participants. Key results are available here.

My personal favorite proposal is the elimination of the “Common Rule” for expedited research. I also detest the idea of allowing investigators to make their own determinations regarding institutional review board (IRB) exemptions. I’m looking forward to hearing the pros and cons from the experts, and I will share any juicy insight I gain from the conference in subsequent blog posts.

Don’t forget to check out the posters at the Conference Connection. This is another way to see what your colleagues are doing and to find collaborators if you’re interested in a particular project. Poster presentations will also be made during some of the breakout sessions. I try to walk away with a list of my favorite speakers each year so that I know who I will contact if I ever have the nerve to plan my own conference.  If you love a speaker, let them know. Talk to them after the session and make a connection!

My last words of pre-conference advice are: Don’t be a hermit! Don’t go up to your room and hide under the covers of the comfy bed (this is not from experience…ha!).  Branch out and attend the welcome reception, the networking lunches, and the Meet and Greet with exhibitors and supporters. And make sure to watch the respected PRIM&R icons boogie at the DJ and Dancing on Friday. I hear they are taking requests!

Come talk to me and share your ideas on the ANPRM or challenge me on my knowledge of the regs. I’ll be the straight-haired redhead in the Blog Squad tee!

Wishing you safe travels to National Harbor!