PRIM&R unequivocally condemns police brutality and anti-Black violence. We are outraged at the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others and the continued injustices perpetrated on Black people in this country. We all have a responsibility to confront the systemic, institutional racism deeply embedded in our societal and institutional structures. PRIM&R stands with our Black constituents and calls on nonblack members of our community to eradicate racism in the principles and practices of their everyday work.
The research enterprise has a distinct obligation to grapple with systemic racism, given its historical abuse of Black communities. The ethics framework governing research with human subjects was created in direct response to the exploitation of Black men in the US Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee. This history, alongside inequities in employment, wealth, education, and housing, and the chronic devaluing of Black lives, has persistently undermined Black health. Despite efforts to earn the trust of Black communities, eradicate racial biases in research, and increase the representation of Black and brown people among research participants and beneficiaries, there is more work to be done. Using the levers of respect for persons, beneficence, and especially justice, IRBs and other research personnel are in a position to help dismantle systems and practices that sustain structural racism in medicine and research. Indeed, they have an obligation to do so.
PRIM&R is committed to taking the following actions against racism and to sharing information that will help the research community do the same:
- We are making a donation to the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP on behalf of IACUC20 attendees and speakers. We implore our audience to support this and other organizations fighting for racial justice.
- We will be holding a plenary session, “Reworking Justice in Research: The Time is Now” at the next Advancing Ethical Research Conference. The panel is a call to action to IRBs to invoke a broader notion of justice in their review of research, one that includes structural and social justice and embraces community engagement as an important corrective to research injustice.
- We’ve made the recording of our 2019 webinar “Race-Based Medicine and Race-Based Research: Ethical Considerations for IRBs” free to all in an effort to make it more widely accessible. This webinar covers scientific and ethical arguments against race-based medicine and the role of IRBs and institutions in combatting inaccurate and damaging ideas about biology and race and developing policies and procedures to guide research.
We have also enabled free access to additional recorded content:
- We are convening an advisory group to help PRIM&R identify ways we can make space for Black perspectives in science and research agendas and develop/share resources to support IRBs and research personnel pursuing anti-racism in their everyday work.
We are committed to amplifying Black voices, to diversifying our Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, and program speakers, and to critically engaging our current diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
Black Lives Matter.