The Clinical Research Ethics Core (CRE) or Research Ethics Office (REO), as part of the Regulatory Core, is led by Dr. Audrey Chapman and protects both human subjects and their protected health information (PHI). The CICATS IRB and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Board provides a unifying mechanism to ensure the protection of the rights, privacy and welfare of all human subjects engaged in research conducted by CICATS investigators. Rapid scientific developments in the medical sciences and advances in genomics, proteomics, stem cell research, informatics, imaging and other novel methodologies offer unprecedented opportunities to contribute to the improvement of human health. Research in these fields, however, can raise significant and sometimes unprecedented ethical, social, legal and policy issues. The attendant complexities of clarifying these issues, formulating appropriate ethical and policy responses, and achieving a societal consensus contribute to delays in translating science into clinical research and moving clinical research into the community.
CRE/REO is available to provide advice to scientists, clinical researchers, the IRB, other units within CICATS, affiliated institutions, and the wider University of Connecticut community on the design, conduct, translation, and dissemination of research so as to help identify and incorporate a strong ethical sensibility into every aspect of translational research. As such, the CRE/REO also considers the wider ethical dimensions of “bench-to-bedside” translational research, particularly the interface between new technologies and public health. Discerning the ethical challenges these technologies raise and developing appropriate responses require innovative solutions that draw on a broad cultural, ethical, social and legal framework.
- Ethics consultation services to University of Connecticut investigators and CICATS affiliates throughout the research and translation process: The REO faculty provides advisory ethical consultation services to investigators regarding all phases of research from the design of projects through their translation into medical practice. The goal is offer real-time advice to researchers so as to facilitate the incorporation of ethical practices and legal/ regulatory compliance prior to IRB submission. The REO staff team can work in collaboration with the research design, epidemiology and biostatistics function on specific projects.
- Ethics consultation services to IRBs, the Regulatory Core, and CICATS affiliated hospitals and institutions: The REO also serves a resource for the Regulatory Core and CICATS affiliated IRBs, hospitals, and institutions to investigate and provide advice on ethical issues and novel technologies.
- Identify ethical oversight issues related to novel and ethically-sensitive medical technologies and applications and to specific projects incorporating ethically-sensitive technologies: To fulfill this role the REO faculty will offer seminars, bring experts to speak on selected topics, and when needed organize a series of multi-disciplinary working groups drawing membership from across UConn Health and affiliated institutions and hospitals. Please let the REO know if there is a topic you would like to explore.
- Enhance the education of investigators in translational research ethics: REO faculty plan to collaborate with the Research, Education, and Training Core in providing educational opportunities on selective topics. The REO faculty is available to facilitate and promote discussions about ethical CICATS and the broader community through programs, seminars and programs. Please let us know which topic you would like educational services.
- Collaborate with researchers interested in adding ethical components to translational research projects: The REO faculty would be happy to discuss collaborations to add ethical components to scientific projects.
Dr. Audrey Chapman, Ph.D., M.Div., S.T.M.
Associate Director, Clinical Research Ethics