Practical, near-term benefits of attending the AER

by Susan Trinidad, MA

It’s now more than a month after the 2012 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference, and I’m back in cold, gray Seattle. But it’s not just the memory of sunshine in San Diego that I’ve found myself returning to. Since I returned home, I’ve benefited from my attendance at the conference in several different ways:



    • As a researcher who works with American Indian and Alaska Native communities, I was disappointed to see that didactic session E24 on tribal participatory research seemed to be attended mainly by people who are already doing this work and are well informed. It’s got me thinking about whether my colleagues and I at the Center for Genomics and Healthcare Equality could help to bring those with less familiarity – whether administrators, IRB members, or researchers – into the discussion, in the local context. What would be an effective mode of outreach, I wonder? 


    • I became interested in Laura Stark’s book, Behind Closed Doors: IRBs and the Making of Ethical Research, through her participation in the AER Conference. Not only is it a well-written and really interesting account of the history of institutional review boards (IRBs), but it also offers some important sociological insights into how IRBs do their work and why the way in which IRBs work matters in the grand scheme. It was an important reference in helping me prepare a grant that proposes to do some observational work with IRBs. 


These are all examples of why I keep coming back to PRIM&R’s AER Conference: because I learn new things, I meet new and interesting people, and I hear ideas that spark new connections in my own work.

Interested in gaining access to materials from the presentations Susan mentioned? Learn more about purchasing access to the Conference Passport for the 2012 AER Conference on our website