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  • Input Needed on Proposed Revisions in Federal Policies on Human Subjects Protections

    by Guest Blogger | Sep 23, 2015

    By: Kevin Heffernan, Ph.D.

    While the scientific method has remained largely the same for hundreds of years, the dissemination of science has changed drastically. The digital era now provides unbridled access to information at the click of a button. Complete literature reviews and even advanced statistical analyses can be done on powerful hand-held devices from any place and at any time. Research is on the go and like so many aspects of our day-to-day lives, it can be hard to detach.  

    Pressures mount to secure funding to keep research agendas afloat. Age-old mantras like “publish or perish” are stuck in our psyche. Grant submission deadlines are on our calendars alongside holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Papers need to be published to help secure the next grant.  Progress reports need to be generated to appease funders. Write, write, write…submit, submit, submit… 

    Sometimes researchers may forget why we do what we do. Whether to prevent/treat disease, augment athletic performance, enhance recovery from injury or improve overall health, wellness and quality of life, our scholarship seeks to help others. Our undertaking is one of service and at the very foundation of our research lies (sometimes literally) the participant. We are indebted to those individuals that graciously give of their time and effort to participate in our research projects so that we may hopefully use our findings to help others. 

    Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released its most recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects. This expansive document seeks to maintain research ethical standards at the highest level while improving the overall research experience for participants and researchers alike. Members of ACSM are highly encouraged to explore this document, as guidelines put forth will directly impact how ACSM navigates its scholarship. Opportunities will be made available to share our views and concerns with DHHS. Comments will be accepted until December 1, and we invite and encourage your input.

    ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world and our mission is to advance and integrate scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. We believe in the power of exercise as medicine and we entrust that our medicine heals; and our vessel to share this message is research. It is our duty as scientists and our responsibility as citizens of inquiry and exploration to protect our research participants’ rights and ensure their safety. Without research participants, research itself comes to a screeching halt.  

    Kevin Heffernan, Ph.D.

    Syracuse University, Department of Exercise Science
    Director of the Human Performance Laboratory and member of the SU Institutional Review Board

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