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PRIM&R Announces Longtime Leader to Step Down

BOSTON, May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R), an organization at the forefront of educating and engaging the public and the research community on the ethics of biomedical, social science, and behavioral research, has announced that its founding executive director, Joan Rachlin , will step down in early 2014 from the position she has held since 1975.

Since its founding in 1974, PRIM&R has grown to be among the most respected and valued voices for keeping ethics and scientific responsibility at the center of biomedical and behavioral research. During Ms. Rachlin's nearly 40-year tenure, PRIM&R has become a globally respected organization with 4,000 members from around the world.   

"Joan's matchless leadership transformed the dream of several Boston-area researchers to advance ethical research into an inspiring reality. Her steady guidance has been a beacon in the field, and her personal dedication and warmth have made PRIM&R the essential venue in research ethics," said Alexander Capron , LLB, Chair of PRIM&R's Board of Directors and the Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy, and Ethics at the University of Southern California. 

Under Ms. Rachlin's stewardship, PRIM&R has become a forum for stakeholders to discuss ethical issues and best practices, and address controversies in the ever-changing field of research with human beings and animals. Additionally, PRIM&R's innovative and high quality educational programs have prepared researchers and research ethics committee members and staff for the difficult task of ensuring that ethical considerations are integrated into the review of all protocols.  

"Leaving such a best-of-all-possible-worlds job will not be easy, but now seems like the right time for both PRIM&R and me to take this step in our respective journeys. I have such confidence in PRIM&R's strength and its ongoing critical role in the future of research, largely because our Board is wise and hardworking, our staff incomparable, and our community strong and committed," Ms. Rachlin said. 

A health lawyer by training, Ms. Rachlin developed programs on the ethical oversight of research that have provided critical information and skill-building tools to thousands of researchers and research oversight professionals in the US and abroad. Among the topics she helped bring to audiences were the treatment of vulnerable populations in research, HIV/AIDS studies, scientific misconduct, conflicts of interest, privacy and confidentiality, and the competencies of institutional review boards and institutional animal care and use committees.

"Largely because of Joan's passion, commitment, and hard work, PRIM&R has become a unique and respected resource for the individuals and institutions responsible for the ethical conduct of research," said Joseph Byrne , Associate Provost for Research Emeritus at Tufts University, and one of PRIM&R's founders who hired Ms. Rachlin in 1975.

The Board of Directors has initiated a search for Ms. Rachlin's successor. The Search Committee, chaired by Board member Dr. Cynthia A. Gómez , Director of the Heath Equity Institute at San Francisco State University, will announce further details in May.

Contact: Kimberly Hensle Lowrance at; 617.423.4112, ext. 119

SOURCE Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research
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