2013 Webinar: Career Paths IRB

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There are many pathways into the research ethics professions, but the steps necessary to advance a career in the field are rarely clearly defined. As a special educational offering for 2013 Member Appreciation Month, we invited some of our favorite human research protections professionals to talk about building a career in IRB administration.

The speakers described their own professional trajectories and discuss obstacles faced and conquered, and valuable lessons learned in the process. They also shared information about networking and finding mentors, and offered various other career advancement tips, including opportunities available through PRIM&R.


Eric Allen, MLS, CIP, CPIA
Eric Allen is the associate director of consulting services for HRP Consulting Group, Inc. At HRP, Mr. Allen assists institutions with obtaining and retaining accreditation; conducting program evaluations; and providing regulatory and ethical guidance, policy development, and strategy improvement. He earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science from Greensboro College, and holds a master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Mr. Allen has worked in research administration for well over a decade, having served as the director for the office of research compliance at various universities. Mr. Allen built two independent research integrity offices from the ground up, where he served as research integrity officer and as an institutional official designee. He also oversaw various compliance committees (including human, animal, and biohazardous materials/ rDna) and developed and implemented education programs for the campus community.

Claire Dunne, PhD, CIP
Claire Dunne is the IRB program manager at the University of Colorado – Boulder, where she has held several positions since 2006. The IRB at Boulder has a large social and behavioral board and a smaller biomedical board. Claire received her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Aberdeen University, UK, and earned a PhD in clinical medicine from King’s College in London. Claire was the chief dietitian in the liver unit at King’s College Hospital, London. Since moving to the United States, Claire has held two postdoctoral positions in molecular genetics at Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans. Claire eventually transitioned into a research compliance officer role, and then served as a managing auditor at the same institution.

Melissa Epstein, PhD, CIP
Melissa Epstein is the IRB administrator at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Melissa has a PhD in linguistics from UCLA and conducted her doctoral dissertation on vocal cord vibration patterns in English. She had further training as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland Dental School, studying three-dimensional modeling of tongue motion during speech. After her postdoctoral position, Melissa pursued a career in research administration and human subjects protection. In 2009 she obtained a certificate in bioethics from the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Bioethics. She is currently pursuing a master’s in bioethics from the center and works for the recently combined Montefiore and Einstein IRBs.

Certificates of Attendance

Certificates of attendance for the Career Paths: Advancing in IRB Administration webinar were made available at the conclusion of the webinar. Such certificates are useful for obtaining continuing education (CE) credits (not Continuing Medical Education credits) from professional associations. Note that guidelines concerning CE credits may differ, and you should consult the appropriate professional association representative for further guidance.