The History of PRIM&R’s Membership Community

As we celebrate PRIM&R’s 50th anniversary this year, we reflect with pride on the journey of our membership community. Throughout the past five decades, PRIM&R has evolved and grown, driven by a shared commitment to ensure and advance ethical standards in research. Join us as we delve into the rich history and pivotal moments that have shaped our vibrant community into what it is today. 

After PRIM&R’s founding in 1974, our conferences grew in both attendance and reputation. Our Board of Directors became increasingly aware of the educational needs emerging among Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) members and administrators. In 1985, a community-driven effort led to the creation of ARENA, a new professional community for IRB/IACUC administrators. ARENA’s mission was to “promote educational activities, networking, the resolution and/or amelioration of mutual problems, and the professional advancement of its members.”  

Over the years, ARENA was guided by a devoted group of presidents and council members, many of whom remain actively engaged with PRIM&R today. In 2006, the decision to fully integrate ARENA into PRIM&R was made by PRIM&R’s Board of Directors, staff, and ARENA leaders.  

The Membership Committee (MC) was formed as a subcommittee of PRIM&R’s Board of Directors to propel PRIM&R’s initiatives forward. The MC develops policies for PRIM&R’s membership community and contributes to goal-setting and strategic planning. PRIM&R’s MC works to engage groups that are under-represented within the organization. The Membership Committee helps PRIM&R reach a broad audience by cultivating new leadership and providing guidance on the development of additional member benefits.   

Today, PRIM&R’s membership community comprises approximately 3,500 individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those involved with HRPPs/IRBs, IACUCs, IBCs, research and compliance. Our diverse membership comes from colleges, universities, hospitals, healthcare systems, research institutes, and government agencies. The largest segment of our membership consists of professionals in directorial, administrative, managerial, and other roles within research oversight offices and committees. Additionally, we have members serving in various capacities within federal agencies, compliance, research integrity, review committees, institutional leadership, veterinary roles, laboratory personnel/technicians, researchers, and research staff. 

“PRIM&R has always played an integral role in my career and has given to me more than I could ever hope to return in kind. And over the years PRIM&R has become my professional family and a place where I have been able to develop and maintain life-long friendships. So, thank you and thank PRIM&R!” said a PRIM&R member. 

If you’re not already a part of our vibrant membership community, we invite you to join today! Our supportive membership community provides access to a wealth of resources, networking opportunities, and professional development programs. Meet colleagues from more than 1,000 institutions in more than 40 countries. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your career in research oversight, there’s a place for you in PRIM&R’s community. Sign up today to connect with like-minded individuals and stay updated on the latest developments in the field.