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National Nurses Week Events: May 6-12Seattle University College of Nursing invites you to celebrate National Nurses Week with us!
Congratulations 2013 Alpha Sigma Nu InducteesThis year there are 17 inductees from the College of Nursing. Please join us in congratulating them!
April 28 SUSNA & SCAC 5k Fun Run - Wear your scrubs!In recognition of National Nurses Week, Seattle University will be hosting a 5k fun run & walk. All community members are welcome! Raffle, activities, and entertainment to follow! Participants will receive a t-shirt and event bag. Proceeds go to Seattle University Student Nurses Association (SUSNA).
Friday, May 08, 2009
The following article recently appeared in the SU publication Broadway and Madison. Our Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Barbara Anderson, chairs the IRB committee and has played an integral role in its success.
During one of their recent meetings, Seattle University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) is graciously responding to a guest’s questions about the group and how it operates, yet their cordiality is tinged with a collective sense of restlessness to get back to the task at hand. And no wonder. The IRB must sign off on every research project done at SU that involves human subjects, and the number of these projects—or protocols, as they are officially known—has skyrocketed in recent years. The 14-member board reviewed 80 protocols last year, up from 53 the previous year. SU’s IRB was established eight years ago in response to a mandate by the federal government to protect human subjects involved in research projects. Similar bodies exist on campuses across the country. If SU’s review board seems serious, it’s because the stakes are so high. Newspapers are replete with horror stories of ill-conceived research projects. There’s the study in which thousands of cell phone users were tracked without their knowledge and consent. Or the professor who thought it was a good idea to send letters to restaurants that made phony claims of food poisoning to see how they would respond. Universities clearly have a lot to lose in terms of money and reputation when it comes to research involving human subjects. Yet, there’s more to it than avoiding lawsuits and bad PR, say members of SU’s review board. Barbara Anderson, chair of the IRB and associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Nursing, puts it in these terms: “We are here to protect vulnerable populations while respecting academic freedom.” The IRB’s purview covers a wide range of research. It doesn’t have to involve an invasive medical procedure to warrant the board’s review. It can be something as seemingly innocuous as conducting a survey. Particular attention is given to studies involving children or any other population that would be considered vulnerable according to the government guidelines, including the mentally impaired, incarcerated, elderly and pregnant, to name a few. Protections are also given to people who might not be part of a vulnerable population going into the study, but could be put in vulnerable situations as a result of the research. As for the recent spike in protocol reviews, IRB administrator Leesa Brown says it’s primarily attributable to a heightened awareness on the part of SU researchers. She says about 70 percent of the protocols come from students, and she points to better advising and mentoring as contributing factors in getting more protocols before the board. In her role as sponsored research officer, Brown does outreach to students, regularly visiting classes to let them know about their responsibilities before they delve into their research. Board members see themselves as collaborators in helping to make sure SU research is done in accordance with the government’s expectations and the university’s mission. “We don’t police research,” Brown adds. “It’s still up to faculty, students and staff to implement this. But we’re there to help.”
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