Welcome back! After meeting with the leadership of all the IRBs, we decided to have a four-part series with the members. The first session began with introducing the current institutional review board structure in Liberia by the Regulatory Compliance and Ethics Manager of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, Kokulo Franklin. After having written a thesis on the ins and outs of the Liberian IRB structure, Kokulo laid out an excellent potential national plan for the organization of the IRBs.
After Kokulo’s presentation, I presented the results from the needs assessment that we had conducted previously. I began my presentation by outlining the purpose of the needs assessment, which was to provide an up-to-date analysis of the strengths and needs of Liberia’s current research ethics review infrastructure. I then moved onto discussing the makeup of each IRB and the standardized protocol documents that each IRB had or did not have. From there, I discussed the demographics of the committee members and what they wanted to learn. For example, the top three research and research ethics topics that members wanted to know more about were ethical principles in research, international guidelines in research, and research with vulnerable populations (children, prisoners, etc.)
I closed the presentation by discussing essential points that will guide how we structure the rest of the sessions with the committee members. It was a fantastic experience getting to present my findings to all the IRBs. I wanted to create an engaging presentation, so there were times where I stopped and asked questions of the members. These conversations become valuable because I learned more about each participant as well as what the IRBs needed. Below are pictures of my presentation!
In the next session with the members, we will be discussing informed consent and how to work with vulnerable populations.