Starting from a Collaborative Place: An interview with Carissa Minder

Welcome to another installment of our featured member interviews in which we introduce you to our members—individuals who work to advance ethical research on a daily basis. Please read on to learn more about their professional experiences and how membership helps connect them to a larger community.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carissa Minder, RN, BSN, CIP, senior project specialist – CIRB in the office of human research protection at Washington University in St. Louis.

PRIM&R: When and why did you join the field?
Carissa Minder (CM): I joined the Washington University IRB staff in 2011 after working as a clinical research coordinator and lab manager for years. I wanted to work for the IRB as it allowed me to be involved in so many different types of research.

PRIM&R: What is one tool you use every day that you could not do your job without?
CM: Our home-grown electronic submission system, it makes our whole office run more efficiently!

PRIM&R: What is one thing you wish the general public knew about human subjects research?
CM: I wish they knew that it is a very highly regulated field but that even with all the right things in place, not everyone is going to act ethically. Be optimistic but cautious.

PRIM&R: What is something you know now that you wish someone had told you when you first entered this field?
CM: Investigators will assume that you are going to be a barrier to research from the get-go. Start from a collaborative place and you will find that everyone’s goals can usually be met.

PRIM&R: What changes in the research field most concern you? What changes are you encouraged by?
CM: The answer to both is the movement towards centralized IRB review. The process has great benefits but is coming on fast and furious and there is a lot yet to be worked out.

PRIM&R: What motivates you to maintain your commitment to advancing ethical research?
CM: We can’t make a difference in disease or suffering without research. Making sure that research can be conducted ethically is important for our society as a whole.

PRIM&R: Have there been any PRIM&R events or talks that you have attended that have made a significant impact on your approach to your work? If so, what were they and how did they influence you?
CM: Anthony Fauci’s keynote address at the 2014 Advancing Ethical Research Conference helped me understand the suffering that some patients go through while waiting on red tape to clear and reminded me that we work not only to protect patients, but to help them.

PRIM&R: How has membership in PRIM&R’s community of research ethics professionals helped you to advance in your career or do your job better?
CM: PRIM&R helps me stay current in this ever-changing world of regulations and guidance. The members remind me to be passionate about what I do.

Thank you, Carissa, for your ongoing commitment to advancing ethical research. We are honored to have members like you among our ranks. To learn more about PRIM&R membership, visit our website.