Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Intellectual Crystal Meth
I love the people I work with. No disclaimers or codicils.

I am ever so frustrated with the entity I report to.

I was in Boston to attend a conference, Public Responsibility in Medicine & Research (PRIM&R), discussing the ethics of research. I learned quite a bit including the following:

  • Our ethics system, primarily overseen by the FDA, but locally by institutional review boards (IRBs), are both paternalistic and do not have nearly enough oversight of the actual research occurring
  • Many of the rules do more to stifle research than protect subjects
  • There are people out there having real ethics debates about these issues rather than using the most conservative definition of the rulebook because it is there (and it will keep us free of any liability) despite having the authority to interpret most of the very vague guidelines.
I loved the conference.

I love ethics debates.

When I was in school (oh, so many years ago), I was a religious studies major (human sexuality minor - go figure). We called science based fields of study "scantron majors" since most tests had answers that could be filled in on a scantron sheet (are these even used anymore?). We, on the other hand, wrote essays, took oral exams and immersed ourselves in hot debates in class about religion and its influence on social dimensions bleeding out into the quad long after classes ended. I was very earnest.

The conference brought me back to that and also sparked my latent inquisitiveness about the way things work and why. Despite one full (very scary) day of didactic hot air, the rest was engaging and, dare I say

Also, as far as Boston goes - I loved it. It was beautiful and really, really freakin' cold. The skin cells on my face froze. That has never happened before! What an odd feeling.

Anyway, blah, blah, blah, academic blustering. Now on with the holiday fun!


Stumble It!


Blogger fleecyknits said...

Oh Lord, yes they still use Scantron. At least in our public school system here in MD they use it all the time.

I used to work in a hospital. I loved the whole medicine/science/research part, but once the powers that be started talking more about revenue generation and less about staff education and patient care I had to get out. Still miss it though.

Glad you're home safe from your trip. :-)

Blogger Orangeblossoms said...

Love Ethics.
Hate Scantrons.
Love Boston.
Used to live in Boston. Loved it then, love it now. Everything about it.... from the T to the frozen public garden..... Love it, love it, love it!
Frozen skin cells can be hazardous.
Love that you're posting more.

Blogger dale-harriet said...

Ever hear of the MMPI? "Minnesota Multi-phasic Index" or wossname. It was a scantron (I didn't know the name of it then, though). Ethics - fascinating. I got to attend some ethics debates when I worked at our University Hospital (no participation, I was just "support staff", read "secretary") but it was fascinating. Good to know Ethics are still being considered, debated, discussed.

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