It has now been over a month since what we never imagined possible became not just possible, but all too real – going to work and going about the activities of our everyday lives threatened our health as well as that of our families and our communities. There is so much to be said about this whole experience, but I want to take advantage of the soap box to which I have access to specifically call out the fine, responsible, and ethical manner by which the IU research community responded to these unique circumstances.
What could easily have developed into rampant chaos marked by indiscriminate shutdowns or immoral non-action, selfish competition for potentially limited resources, and protectionism of what’s mine DID NOT. Instead, our community of researchers came together to protect the integrity of IU’s research writ large – the science, the human subjects, the research animals, the data, and our fellow researchers. Some research could safely and appropriate proceed while other research needed to be altered or even suspended – and when asked to make this assessment of their own research, IU researchers did so openly and willingly, albeit not without regrets and concerns. And for this, we, the staff of the Office of Research Compliance, tip our hats to commend, thank and show our appreciation and respect to the IU community of researchers.
All offices and operations of ORC have continued throughout this time without interruption – more details can be found below. Staff are all working remotely and committees and meetings are being conducted virtually. So, I will take this opportunity to brag about the leaders and staff of ORC. When faced with these unique challenges, the ORC leaders and staff recognized their vital mission was both unchanged and, at the same time, changed. They responded beautifully – with commitment, with integrity, and with respect. Unchanged was their primary mission of collaborating with IU researchers to ensure that IU conducts its research activities in a manner that is consistent with regulatory and organizational requirements and is of the highest integrity. What was changed very dramatically, however, was the context and to some extent the stakes in carrying out this mission – and how they can best support their mission and IU’s researchers while their own lives were upended by the pandemic and the needs of their families. I am so proud to say that these are my colleagues.
Please stay safe and healthy. Thank you all for your efforts and please show appreciation to the ‘essential’ workers in health care, transportation, food services, and other areas who continue to work to make things better for us. And, the same for the ‘non-essential’ workers (hate that term) who are struggling during the pandemic.