Unlocking the Value of Ethics in Clinical Research

Marcy J. Maslov, CPA, CGMA, MBA, Founder and CEO, Empowerment Unlimited Coaching, LLC

Marcy J. Maslov, CPA, CGMA, MBA, Founder and CEO, Empowerment Unlimited Coaching, LLC

Although the quest for profit is understandable, research site leaders who are looking to fill their clinical trials would do well to first be sure their organizations are viewed as trustworthy, says Marcy J. Maslov, CPA, CGMA, MBA, founder and CEO of Empowerment Unlimited Coaching, LLC.

“Positive ethical culture reduces turnover, builds loyalty, saves money, keeps employees engaged, and protects business reputation,” notes Maslov, who led a half-day workshop on “Unlocking the Value of Ethics Using Educational Games” today at the ACRP 2017 Meeting & Expo in Seattle, WA.

While much of the workshop’s content used her company’s e-Factor!® interactive educational board game on ethics to demonstrate approaches to dealing with ethical dilemmas in research settings to the experienced research professionals in attendance, Maslov says “we need to start early” with such training. “Last year, 98% of high school students admitted to cheating in school,” she notes. “These students will be taking over for us, and they say they cheat just to stay even with their peers.”

The problem with ethics training, Maslov says, is that it’s boring, and many professionals say such classes are a waste of time because they learn nothing useful. “For many professionals, there is a three- or four-hour ethics class required for license renewal,” she adds. “This is not yet required for clinical research professionals; I would love to be part of the team to help avoid the class development mistakes other professions have made. Nobody wants to listen to an instructor read from the code of conduct for four hours!”

Maslov focuses on issues related to good business practices, conflicts of interest, and seeing issues from different viewpoints instead of jumping to conclusions or making assumptions. “I get regular feedback from people that says they didn’t realize there were different viewpoints, and that each business issue has an ethical conflict at its core,” she says. “People also tell me they struggle with when it is appropriate to report problems, and that they are fearful of punishment for reporting abuses.”

You can learn more about ethics in clinical research through ACRP’s eLearning course, Ethics and Human Subject Protection.

Author: Gary Cramer