Fun fact #1: The first professional organization I joined was PRIM&R, in 2009. I had recently begun serving as a voting alternate on the IRB at the Veterans Administration center where I worked as a chaplain resident. I had been enjoying the IRB work (yes, really—and that was even in the all-paper days) and as it happened, the 2009 AER Conference was taking place in my backyard: Nashville, TN.

The conference sessions I attended were eye-opening and perspective-enlarging. More importantly, presenters and fellow attendees were patient to a fault, answering my many [...] Read more


By any chance, do you remember me? I was a new blogger for Ampersand  at last year’s AER Conference in Baltimore. I was also a new member of PRIM&R, having joined because of my recent appointment as Chair of the Institutional Review Board of Providence College.

So it’s one year later, and how do I feel? My goodness, what a difference a year makes! I now feel like a grizzled veteran, enlightened by a year’s worth of research experience.

The most important lesson I learned from last year’[...] Read more


Twenty five. That’s the number to know. Keep it in your mind. 25 tracks!  So many choices, so much to learn!

I first attended PRIM&R’s Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference in 2008. I remember walking into the venue for the first talk and being blown away by the size of it. It still catches me by surprise and this will be my seventh time attending. Compared to other conferences, it’s the variety of selections that brings me back to the AER Conference again and again: I can pick from so many great topics! Of course, the problem is always narrowing down my choices so [...] Read more


By Samia Rizk, MD, professor of clinical pathology at Cairo University

Open data refers to “data that can be freely used, shared, and built-on by anyone, anywhere.” Data which is considered “open” is further required to be legally acceptable, technically readable, and available to others. The many potential benefits attributed to data sharing are combined with its many challenges: assuring privacy and security, the autonomy of participants as it relates to their ability to give valid consent, population and cultural issues, measures for appropriate governance, commercialization, and sustainability of databases.

With no binding requirement, it is a scientist’s decision whether or [...] Read more


By Vinisha Bhatia, research associate, Staff Development and Knowledge Management at Innovations for Poverty Action

As an IRB Coordinator for an international research and policy nonprofit, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), I had the opportunity to attend PRIM&R's IRB Administrator 201 course during the 2015 Spring Regional Meeting in April. My goal was to learn more about IRB administration and review processes in order to apply this knowledge to my organization's work in social and behavioral research in the international development sector. [...] Read more