Both the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc ., (AAHRPP) and Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) plan conferences next month. AAHRPP's conference, "Breaking Down Barriers, will be held in Washington, April 6-8, then PRIM&R meets in Boston, April 28-29, for a "Social, Behavioral & Educational Research Conference."
Federal officials will participate in both conferences. The AAHRPP kicks off with an address by OHRP's director, Jerry Menikoff, and will include presentations from other representatives of OHRP as well as the departments of Defense, Education, Energy, Justice, Veterans Affairs, the EPA, FDA, and--most intriguingly from my view--an as yet unnamed official from the National Science Foundation who will discuss "Ethical Issues in Social Science Research."
PRIM&R will feature a keynote by OHRP's Ivor Pritchard as well as a session entitled "Talk to the Feds: A Dialogue with the Office for Human Research Protections," in which "OHRP staff talk about how the regulations and guidelines apply to SBER IRBs, including questions about implementing the recently issued OHPR guidances on continuing review and conditional approval. Attendees are encouraged to come with questions that will be of interest to all."
From what I understand, it is not unusual for federal regulatory officials to speak at conferences sponsored by the industries they oversee. But larger industries have an established trade press that will cover pronouncements by key officials.
It is not clear that statements by federal officials at either conference will be made public beyond the fragmentary accounts of the sort we have gotten in the past. The question, then, is whether someone who doesn't want to spend $575 for the AAHRPP conference or $835 for PRIM&R can find out what federal officials think the Common Rule means.
Thanks to Theresa Defino and Ada Sue Selwitz for alerting me to these conferences.