My name is Reham Mounzer and I am a third year PhD student in the College of Medicine and Public Health. As cancer researchers, we often work with patient samples or conduct clinical studies/trials to enhance our ability to understand this debilitating disease and how to treat it. All of this, however, would be impossible without the involvement and approval from the SALHN ethics committee. The process of obtaining ethics approval and cooperation is one that is notoriously complex in the medical research world, but crucial, yet I always found it perplexing how little focus was placed on having in-depth understanding of it. It was, therefore, a no-brainer for me when I received an email from the HDR office about a placement within the SALHN Office for Research. I have always had an interest in the legal and ethical aspects of healthcare and research, and so I was excited to have the opportunity to see how the ethics committee operates and see what goes on behind the scenes.
The first thing that I noticed upon commencing the placement, was just how friendly everyone in the team was, and how willing and enthusiastic they were to educate us researchers on the significance and complexity of the process. Being highly inquisitive, I worried that my constant question asking would become very annoying – but I couldn’t be any more wrong. The team encouraged us to ask as many questions as we liked and were always more than happy to help (even if they were in the middle of their own work). I highly recommend this placement to all PhD students – it is incredibly rewarding, worthwhile, relevant, and essential to our work.
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