FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                              Date:  March 30, 2001

                                                                        Contact:  Lezli Austen

UIS intern led development of online course for human research protection

SPRINGFIELD – A University of Illinois at Springfield student led the development of an online education program on the protection of human research participants, designed for researchers and their key personnel.

UIS student Margie Harris, RN, worked on the program during a six-month internship in the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Office of Education and Special Initiatives (OESI), located within the NCI Office of Communications in Bethesda, Maryland. Under the direction of her mentor, Harris was responsible for gathering the needed information, drafting an outline, writing a narrative, and working with an advisory committee of representatives from the Food and Drug Administration and five of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

OESI is responsible for the development and implementation of education programs over the entire cancer continuum, including cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and palliative care. The new program responds to the federal mandate requiring education on human subjects protection for all investigators who apply for or receive NIH funds for research involving people.

“We launched the program on January 3 of this year,” said Harris, who interned from July through December of last year. “According to NCI, 3500 professionals from five countries have used the program to date.”

Harris will finish her UIS master’s in public health this spring and begin April 1 as the Illinois Department of Public Health’s coordinator of the Illinois Comprehensive Cancer Control Program.

“As one of eight interns, I was treated as a peer and surprised at the enormity of the projects that were assigned,” said Harris. Six of the interns took permanent positions with NCI.

The web-based course, available through the web site http://cme.nci.nih.gov, offers continuing medical education (CME) credit for physicians and contact hours for nurses and other members of research teams. The course is free.

Titled Human Participant Protections Education for Research Teams, the course is designed for both biomedical and behavioral researchers, and incorporates interactive modules, case studies, and exercises. Topics covered include: roles and responsibilities of researchers and their key personnel, guiding ethical principles for research, federal regulations, informed consent, institutional review boards, ongoing protections throughout the course of the study, data and safety monitoring, reporting of adverse events, privacy and confidentiality, and historical events that have had an impact on policy and legislation.