Poster Spotlight: Perspectives of Egyptian Chairs of Research Ethics Committees Regarding Barriers that Affect Proper Functioning

by Avery Avrakotos, Education and Policy Coordinator

Preparations for the 2012 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference  are gearing up, and I for one am getting excited about the annual poster presentations. To channel my excitement, I reached out to some of our past presenters to find out what they have been up to. This week, I chatted with Amal Matar, PRIM&R’s 2010 Pillar of PRIM&R Award recipient, to see how her work has progressed since she shared her work at the 2011 AER Conference.

In 2011, Amal and her colleagues conducted in-depth interviews with research ethics committees (RECs) throughout Egypt. Using the interview data, the team was able to pinpoint common issues that impede the proper functioning of RECs in the region.

Avery Avrakotos (AA): It’s been a year since you presented this abstract at the 2011 AER Conference.  How has your research since evolved?
Amal Matar (AM): I am writing the final part of my thesis now. However, it seems that more than one paper might emerge—we are planning to write one paper on research ethics in Egypt and another on the perspectives of different research stakeholders on RECs and research ethics in general. We are also trying to expand the original research we presented at the 2011 AER Conference to involve Arab and Eastern European countries. I have already communicated with participants in a few Arab countries like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. I am planning a trip to Europe to attend two conferences and I am hoping to be able to recruit participants from the Czech Republic and other Eastern European countries. Wish me luck!

AA: What challenges have you faced in implementing this research?
AM: My research is qualitative. It built a hypothesis that will require further testing. At this stage, there was nothing really to implement. Maybe when it gets published someone will be interested in testing the hypotheses I put forward.

AA: What is one principle that has guided you in your research?
AM:  Amid the chaos and political unrest in Egypt being focused and persistent is important.

Thank you for sharing, Amal! We hope that you will consider joining us at the 2012 AER Conference.