Before coming to graduate school, I worked in clinical research for a Sport Medicine group in Greenville, SC. I oversaw the research side helping to develop protocols, submit IRB (Institutional Review Board) applications, collect data, and prepare completed studies for publication. We completed studies that ranged from retrospective studies to randomized controlled trials. We would study the difference between joint replacement and outcomes of ACL repairs. As you would expect the IRB applications to enroll patients in studies that involved the type of knee replacement they received were pretty intensive. The risks were high, but so was the potential knowledge gained. If we could determine a new method of joint replacement that resulted in increased flexibility, less pain, and a quicker recovery, we could influence the standard of care for other patients. These experiences are what guided my interest to pursue a graduate education in research. Little did I know how valuable the experience of completing IRB applications and interviewing patients would be to my work today.
While I spent four years working with the IRB within the hospital system, this semester has been my first experience with a University IRB. The risk for my study is minimal, but the process still feels slightly unknown. My application will run through the Western IRB, which I did not use while in clinical research. I am optimist that the process will be smooth and I will have another skill to carry with me into a future research career.