Bioethics Blogs

Overheard at AER: Conversations on Proposed Changes to the Common Rule

by Rebecca S. Ohnemus, MAA, CRA, Research Officer at University of the Incarnate Word

PRIM&R is pleased to introduce Rebecca Ohnemus, MAA, CRA, a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad for 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 happened December 4-7 in Baltimore, MD.

I love listening in on conversations. It’s one of my favorite guilty pleasures. There is little quite as enjoyable as hearing a juicy conversation, perking up your ears, and taking in the drama.
Overheard conversations are even better at conferences. Why? Because when you’re filing out of a room and everyone’s chatting, there is an unspoken rule that you can (very often) politely ask to join in—”I couldn’t help but overhear you talking about…” And, in no time, you’re discussing the implications of an issue on your own institution and sharing stories.

The most vocal audience reactions I overheard on the first day of the 2014 AER Conference occurred following a panel titled “Changes to the Common Rule: Challenges and Opportunities for IRBs.” Maybe it was the time of day, or everyone’s dinner time hunger riling them up, but most likely, it was the topic itself: a discussion of the National Research Council’s (NRC) response to the proposed changes to the “Common Rule” put forward in the Department of Health and Human Services’ 2011 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM).

The panel, presented by members of the NRC (three of whom served on the ad hoc committee convened by the NRC to review and discuss the ANPRM) covered the proposed changes, how they might be implemented by IRBs for improved efficiency, and some of the potential challenges IRBs may face as a result.

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.