Dr. Evelyn Owusu, the Head of the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Regent, was recently selected as a fellow in the 2017 class of the WIRB International Fellowship Program for training in bioethics and ethics committee administration.
Launched in November 2002, the WIRB International Fellows program aims to assist developing countries in increasing their capacity for ethical review of human subject research. The program’s curriculum was developed through a partnership between the leadership of the Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB), the secretariat of the Strategic Initiative for Developing Capacity in Ethical Review (SIDCER), representatives of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and participants from the University of Washington.
Since its inauguration, the WIRB International Fellows Program has so far educated over 150 research professionals from across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The 2017 edition of the WIRB International Fellows Program took place from March to August 2017 in Pullayup, Washington, USA.
The six-month long program fully-sponsored by WIRB, also includes a two-week residency at New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center in New York. In addition to lectures and practical instruction on human subject protections, bioethics and best practices, the fellows observe IRB meetings and receive direct mentorship to better enhance their training.
The program included fellows from the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, India, Beijing Children’s Hospital, China, the Department of Health, Philippines, University of Botswana, Botswana, Wuxi People’s Hospital, China, and Jagadguru Sri Shivarathreeshwara (JSS) University, India.
Talking about the impact the fellowship programme had on her, Dr. Owusu had this to say:
“Through the program I was exposed to the world of human research subject protection and the review of research pertaining to the protection of this population”, said Dr. Owusu.
“It was great establishing really good relationships with fellows from China, India, Botswana and the Philippines. These are incredibly bright professionals from whom I learnt a lot about different cultures as well as regulations regarding human research subject protection in their various communities”, Dr. Owusu added.
Upon completion of the program, the fellows return to their home countries where they are able to make greater contributions to the field of human subject protections.
“I intend conducting and publishing research on the subject of ethics review in Ghana as my contribution to the greater society”, Dr. Owusu shared.
“I now feel a responsibility to broaden the scope, availability and access to knowledge about human research subject protection, and of course, to review research meticulously and conscientiously.”
“I will always be grateful for this program. I have been changed by it.”