Bioethics Blogs

Meet the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2014 AER Conference: Jim Gearhart

by Jim Gearhart, BA, Member of the Board of Directors for Quorum Review IRB

PRIM&R is pleased to introduce Jim Gearhart, BA, a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad at the 2014 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference. The PRIM&R Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who will blog here, on Ampersand, about the conference to give our readers an inside peek of what’s happening December 4-7 in Baltimore, MD. 

I first attended PRIM&R’s annual human subjects conference in 2005, a few months after I had started working at Quorum Review IRB. I was new to working at an IRB, and I often had problems explaining to others what, exactly, the job was all about. I could not always fit the ethical review of research involving human participants into a one or two-word summation of a career. I soon discovered I wasn’t the only one encountering this issue—a colleague’s friend urged her to stop trying; the business was just too esoteric to explain.

This dilemma made it inspiring to walk into the opening session in 2005. I looked around the crowded auditorium and realized that everyone—all 2000 of the attendees—understood what I did all day. They—we—were all involved with fostering ethical review with the same set of regulations, and we all shared similar professional rewards and frustrations.

And like that 2005 gathering, this year’s conference has a rich list of relevant topics. I’m looking forward most to discussions about our challenges in the face of rapidly changing technologies. How do we manage privacy and consent in a world where devices and computers track our actions, our decisions, and possibly our health information?

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.