Bioethics Blogs

Learn to be a professional: An interview with Brenda Ruotolo

by Megan Frame, membership coordinator 

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 their professional experiences, how membership helps connect them to a larger community, and what goes on behind-the-scenes in their lives!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brenda Ruotolo, who recently began a new position as executive director of the Human Research Protection Office at Columbia University in New York, NY. 

Megan Frame (MF): When and why did you join the field of human subjects protections?
Brenda Ruotolo (BR): As the first of our six children started to reach their teens and endless semesters of college tuition suddenly loomed very large, my husband and I decided that we needed more stability than a personally owned small business could provide and sought outside employment. To test the unknown waters of a 9-to-5 routine, I signed up with a temporary staffing agency and was immediately placed in the institutional review board (IRB) office at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. They were preparing for a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection and were looking for extra help. I was subsequently hired as a regular employee, and remained there for four and a half years, assisting the IRB director and managing the institutional animal care and use committee. I spent the next three years at Rutgers University as the sponsored projects administrator, overseeing the IRB. While at Rutgers, I had to very quickly expand my thinking about the application of the regulations to social science and behavioral research.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.