Bioethics Blogs

If the Field Fits, Work in it: An Interview with Edith Paal

By Nora Murphy, membership assistant

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 Edith Paal, MSJ, MPH, CHRC, CIP, IRB program manager at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Nora Murphy (NM): When and why did you join the field?
Edith Paal (EP): I joined the field in 2003 after working as a journalist and scientific writer. I worked for nine years as an auditor, then as an auditing manager in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Research Compliance Office, focusing on human subject protections, before joining our institutional review board staff in 2012 as a program manager. I was looking for an area that would allow me to apply my interests in science, ethics and regulatory matters, and writing/editing/communication, and this field has been a great fit in that regard.

NM: What is one tool you use every day that you could not do your job without?
EP: My willingness to admit that I don’t know all the answers, and to go find the answer, or at least an answer that we can support from a regulatory and ethical standpoint (because there are often multiple possible answers).

NM: What’s one specific challenge that you have faced during your career, and how did you overcome it? 
EP: Too many of our investigators don’t know about the research-related services and resources available to them on campus. We are still working on overcoming this challenge by being as accessible as possible to the research community through educational offerings, blogs, and encouraging people to get in touch and stop by whenever they have a question.

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.