Where Science and Ethics are Truly Integrated: An Interview with Julia Spesivtseva

Welcome to another installment of our featured member interviews where we introduce you to our members—individuals who work to advance ethical research on a daily basis. Please read on to learn more about Julia Spesivtseva, MBA, CIP, senior IRB coordinator at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

PRIM&R: When and why did you join the field?
Julia Spesivtseva (JS): I joined the field of clinical research, and subsequently the institutional review board (IRB), almost seven years ago. I have found it to be both fascinating and complex, and one of the fields where science and ethics are truly integrated.

PRIM&R: What is one tool you use every day that you could not do your job without?
JS: My job requires me to have knowledge of federal, state, and local regulations, but it’s also very customer service-oriented. I couldn’t effectively do my job without communication.

PRIM&R: What is one thing you wish the general public knew about human subjects and animal research?
JS: Ethics. In general, I have found the public is familiar with the scientific side of clinical research, but I’ve observed that not many know about the ethical side and why it’s equally as important.

PRIM&R: What is something you know now that you wish someone had told you when you first entered this field?
JS: Experience is everything in this field, and I would encourage anyone who is just joining it to be patient and ask questions. My other recommendation would be to connect with other professionals in the field.

PRIM&R: What motivates you to maintain your commitment to advancing ethical research?
JS: The biggest motivation for me is the knowledge that conducting ethical research will make a positive difference in someone’s life. I enjoy teaching the history of ethics as part of my job’s duties. I believe that knowing the background of clinical research and remembering the wrongdoings of the past can help those who are just entering the field to not repeat the same mistakes in the future.

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?
JS: I attended my first PRIM&R conference in 2014. I truly enjoyed connecting with like-minded individuals. PRIM&R is a great place to find out the practices of similar institutions and share ideas!

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?
JS: I referred to the PRIM&R website even before I was a member. Now that I’m a member, I can access a much bigger variety of educational materials and tools. I have a big appreciation for PRIM&R and what it has to offer to those who are in this field.

Thank you for being part of the membership community, Julia! We’re glad to hear our educational materials have been helpful resources for you.

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a member, please visit our website today.