Bioethics Blogs

The Culture of Research Ethics: An Interview with Rachel Zand

By Marley Thrasher, director of education and professional development

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 PRIM&R 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 Rachel Zand, PhD, the newest member of PRIM&R’s Education Committee, who is the director of the office of research ethics at the University of Toronto.

Marley Thrasher (MT): When and why did you join the field?
Rachel Zand (RZ): I fell into the field of research ethics in 2002. I had ended a post-doctoral fellowship early after having my first child and realized that academia was not the path for me. Recognizing that my experience in conducting human research would be an asset, I applied for the health sciences ethics review officer at the University of Toronto. I got the job and I have enjoyed working in the field ever since.

MT: What’s one specific challenge that you have faced during your career, and how did you overcome it?
RZ: In 2009, due to the economic difficulties of the previous fall, my office lost two positions: one coordinator, and one research ethics board (REB) manager. The workload didn’t decrease by any means, so it was a particular challenge figuring out how to handle the deficit. I had to restructure the office in terms of responsibilities and take on a dual role for a period of time of both director and REB manager.

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.