Monday, February 7, 2011

Call for Mock IRB Submissions for Discussion at April 15-16 Capstone Event

This year’s Go Big Read book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, raises many intriguing questions regarding ownership of human tissue, race and ethnicity and how these issues play a role in the world of scientific study.

A Go Big Read capstone event, "Who Owns My Body (and Where Is It Now?)," will be held April 15-16 at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. The event will be free and open to all, and will include a variety of panels, discussions, and films. Visit GoBigReadCapstone.org for planning updates.

As part of the capstone event, we would like to present a simulation of how an Institutional Review Board (IRB) discusses and determines the appropriate measures to take in an ethical dilemma within a scientific study. Therefore, we invite students and faculty to participate in this event by submitting scenarios that could be presented to a mock IRB and a public audience, who will partake in a thoughtful discussion to resolve the matter. This is intended to not only give the audience an inside look at how IRBs function, but also allow them the opportunity to think through the issues themselves to see how they might resolve an ethical dilemma. The audience will be given clickers and will be asked to take an active role in the discussions with the mock IRB.

We are hoping that faculty will encourage students to submit ideas or possibly integrate this activity into their class. Students may also submit scenarios independently. The scenarios should be about 250 words and should be submitted by February 25th on line at GoBigReadCapstone.org.

Participants should feel free include interesting or unique methods of presenting their scenarios to the public. For example, they may use posters, movies, student actors, etc. They may also offer a main scenario and include slight variations to test reasoning of the mock IRB and the public as certain elements change. For example, a variation on the main scenario may change the subjects of study from adults to children, it may change the likelihood of risk to the subjects, or the severity of the possible side effects.

After all submissions have been received we will choose a set of scenarios to present to a mock IRB at the Go Big Read capstone event. All students and faculty are invited to participate.

Questions should be directed to Jennifer Gottwald at jennifer@warf.org.

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