Sharing wisdom at IRB Administrator 101

by Christine Scheuring, PRIM&R Blog Squad Member

PRIM&R is pleased to introduce the PRIM&R Blog Squad at this year’s 2011 Social, Behavioral, and Educational Research (SBER) Conference. The PRIM&R Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who are devoted to blogging live from our conferences. The PRIM&R Blog Squad member for the 2011 SBER Conference is Christine Scheuring.

At the beginning of Institutional Review Board (IRB) Administrator 101, the audience was asked to self-identify as IRB administrators who had been in their role for a long time or IRB administrators who had been in their position for a short time. The two individuals who were identified as having served in their role for the most and least amount of time, respectively, had an 11-year, 11-month, three-week difference in experience.

Wow! I was truly among a group with diverse degrees of expertise. I came to this pre-conference program assuming it would be a room full of fellow newbies like myself. However, much to my surprise, a lot of the attendees were seasoned veterans who were willing and able to share valuable insight.

Occasionally throughout the course we were given scenarios that asked, “What would you do?” These scenarios proved to be one of the most opportune times for attendees to share their experiences, insight, and successful processes. What I observed throughout these exercises is that there is not always a clear-cut answer. The lack of clear-cut answers is what makes programs such as IRB Administrator 101 so critical. The program taught participants the fundamentals to figure out the “hows” and “whys” so that we will have the tools necessary to proceed and ultimately come up with a solution.