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Career Story: Senior Protocol Administrator For A Research Review Board

Senior Protocol Administrator For A Research Review Board

Job Title: Senior Protocol Administrator/ Team Leader

Type of Company: I work for a over-riding administrative collaboration between Boston area hospitals. My company provides high level administrative support to the hospitals (HR, Research Management etc.).

Education: BS in Biology, Northeastern University

Previous Experience: I worked in a Research Subject Advocates Program for a major Boston area hospital. Previous to that, I worked as a Research Assistant.

Job Tasks: My primary responsibility is to facilitate the ethical/scientific and medical review of research projects being conducted at the major hospitals. All researchers, who work in a facility that receives federal funds, must be overseen by a group called the "IRB" (Institutional Review Board). The IRB receives an outline of the research project (from the research investigator), along with supporting materials (any documents being handed to subjects, information about study drugs/devices etc.). The IRB reviews the planned research to make sure it is ethical, minimizes risk to potential subjects, etc.

My job is to triage the paperwork submitted, make sure it is in the form required for review and make sure it is complete. I enter various pieces of information into a central database and then send it on for review. Once reviewed, I record the determinations made by the IRB reviewers and then send the official comments back to the researcher. The researcher then makes any IRB-requested changes or provides any missing information. I receive the response from the researcher, check for completeness and then pass back along for review.

In this way, I am a conduit of the information; helping to make sure both parties, the IRB and the researcher have what they need for their part of the equation.

Additionally, I help researchers with any questions they may have about federal and institutional guidelines surrounding ethical human research.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The most enjoyable aspects of the job is developing relationships with individual researchers and their research staff. I am constantly on the phone or corresponding via email. There are many issues that arise on any given research project and though I am not directly involved, I do feel quite a part of the research team.

The least favorable part of the job is the repetition of the day to day tasks. While we deal with a wide-range of research-related issues, the actual day to day tasks, data entry, approvals etc, can become routine quite quickly.

Job Tips: It definitely helps having the hands on experience working on the research side of things, directly within a research unit/lab. This will help provide valuable insight into the lives of those you support, researchers.

While you can go directly into this field, directly from college, I would once again, suggest obtaining some level of experience from the field (direct research). It will help with negotiating your salary as well. It could make a difference of $10,000 in your starting salary.

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