The Advancing Ethical Research Conference (AER) will be held in Boston from November 18-20, and Fenway Health, The Fenway Institute, and AIDS Action are excited to have a large presence at this year’s sessions. AER is the annual conference of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R), a membership organization with the mission of advancing the highest ethical standards in the conduct of biomedical, behavioral, and social science research. Attendees learn about ethical issues and the federal regulations governing human subjects research as well as best practices for the review and monitoring of research. The conference brings together 2,500 professionals from public and private institutions, the federal government, industry, and academia.
Amy Ben‑Arieh, Director of Research Compliance at The Fenway Institute will be presenting a session titled “Under the Influence: Capacity, Competence, and Consent.”
“Substance use and consent present a real challenge,” said Ben‑Arieh. “This is particularly true in the research context where the work that’s being done is for the benefit of society at large, and not the individual. There is so much to grapple with here – individual autonomy, legal liability, harm reduction, competence, capacity, safety.”
Matan Benyishay, Program Evaluation Manager at AIDS Action, and Dana Pardee, Director of Epidemiology Projects at The Fenway Institute, will be presenting on “Situational Vulnerability: Considerations and Safeguards When Exploring Gender Identity, Social/Economic Challenges, and At-Risk Behavior.”
Kristen Connal, Research Compliance & Quality Analyst at The Fenway Institute, will be speaking on the panel “Beyond Auditing and Monitoring of the IRB Towards Quality Improvement.” Sam Marquez-McKetchnie, Project Coordinator – Behavioral Sciences at The Fenway Institute, will be speaking on the panel “Studying Suicide and Subjects at Risk for Suicide: Identifying and Minimizing Risk to Promote Necessary Research.”
“It is essential to ensure that those of us who are responsible for the conduct and oversight of research are accountable to our participants and community,” said Ben‑Arieh. “Because of our participant-centered approach, emphasis on cultural competency, and strong commitment to mission, I think TFI has a lot to share with AER attendees. I’m looking forward to learning, and very proud our TFI delegation will be sharing their experiences and some of the best practices we’ve developed here.”
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