Participants Discuss Research Integrity at University of West Florida Conference

Pensacola Beach – Dozens of experts gathered at the Hampton Inn last week to discuss and develop guidelines relating to the integrity of research when sensitive populations such as veterans, the elderly, the homeless and other special needs groups are the subject.

Dr. Karen Saucier Lundy, professor emeritus at the University of Southern Mississippi, speaks during the Research Integrity for Sensitive Populations Conference at the Hampton Inn.

Research Integrity involves the use of honest and verifiable methods in proposing, performing, and evaluating research and reporting research results with particular attention to adherence to rules, regulations, guidelines; and following commonly accepted professional codes or norms.

“There is so much to consider with new and ongoing issues,” said Dr. Angela Blackburn from University of West Florida’s Department of Nursing. “For example, how do we address research through new technology such as social media, and how do we educate new researchers and make sure guideline are user friendly for them?”

Conference organizer and Principal Investigator Carla Thompson, director of the University of West Florida’s Community Outreach Research and Learning Center, said in her charge to the group that the Gulf Coast region has a strong presence of sensitive and vulnerable populations that includes caregivers, elderly and aging, homeless adolescents and veterans, hurricane and oil spill disaster victims and military personnel.

During the sessions, which included four keynote speakers, the barriers that arise when attempting to conduct research with sensitive populations were discussed. Using the nine principles of responsible conduct of research, the attendees then drafted guidelines to overcome these obstacles. During the next few weeks, these guidelines will be revised and edited into a monograph for submission to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity. The two-day conference was one of five funded through grants awarded through this office, which oversees and directs Public Health Service research integrity activities on behalf of the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Research-&-Integrity-conference-9-1347x897Participants discuss research during a break-out session at the Research Integrity for Sensitive Populations Conference. 

“Where do we go from here?” Thompson asked at the end of the conference. “We will continue working online, and we can proceed with all the transcriptions from the sessions and use all the notes and power points. We will put everything together and start a draft. The goal is to have a monograph by July.”

Speakers included Dr. Karen Saucier, from the University of Southern Mississippi; Dr. Pamela B. Teaster, from Virginia Tec; Dr. Lindsey L. Monteith, from University of Colorado; and Dr. Karen Barber, from Santa Rosa County Schools. Workgroup leaders included Blackburn, Dr. Kyle Hurst from USAF’s Hurlburt Field; and Dr. Daniel Drost and Dr. Rodney Guttmann from UWF’s Center for Aging.