Presidential Committee Will Review Research Using Human Subjects at The University of Pennsylvania

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Media Contact:Ken Wildes | | 215-898-8721January 14, 2000

PHILADELPHIA -- University of Pennsylvania Provost Robert L. Barchi, M.D., Ph.D., will chair a 10-person committee of distinguished members of the Penn faculty named today (Jan. 14) by University President Judith Rodin to review "...carefully and completely..." all aspects of Penn's research using human subjects.

Dr. Rodin said that Dr. Barchi is "...an extraordinary scientist and scholar who has been at the forefront of the design and implementation of important multi-disciplinary advances" for more than a quarter-century. He will lead the committee, which she describes as "...an incredible wealth of talent and relevant experience..." in a proactive review of all aspects of research using human subjects at Penn, considering "...everything we do, from the mechanics of the approval process, to oversight and the functions of the Institutional Review Board, accountability and, ultimately, to the outcomes of our clinical trials."

She said that while there are, and will continue to be, risks in patient-oriented human research, Penn, as one of America's premier teaching and research universities, "...must make certain that our investigators do everything possible to address those risks and fulfill our obligation to protect volunteers in the clinical trials we conduct."

Dr. Barchi said that patient-oriented human research is critically important, both to the future of medicine and health and to the well-being of the overall population, and Penn "...is committed to being a leader in translating basic science into clinically-relevant and useful medical advances," and, he said, "we are committed to accomplishing these goals with the highest possible level of scientific integrity."

The committee will include: Vice Provost for Research Ralph D. Amado, Ph.D., who is a professor of physics; Linda H. Aiken, Ph.D., FAAN, FRCN, R.N., the Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor of Nursing; Robert Austrian, M.D., professor emeritus of research medicine; Director of the Center for Bioethics Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., who is Trustee Professor of Bioethics in Molecular and Cell Engineering; Senior Associate Dean Alfred P. Fishman, M.D., who is the William Maul Measey Professor Emeritus of Medicine; Harvey Freedman M.D., professor of infectious diseases; Director of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center John H. Glick, M.D., who is professor of medicine and the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Professor in Clinical Oncology; Director of the Center for Health Behavior and Communication Research John Jemmott, Ph.D., who is the Kenneth B. Clark Professor of Communications; and Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Samuel H. Preston, Ph.D., who is the Frederick J. Warren Professor of Sociology.