Distinguished Service Award

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) was established in 1996 to honor the exceptional accomplishments of deserving PRIM&R members. Recipients of the DSA have made a significant impact in the field of research ethics, and have attained distinction in promoting the purpose and ideals of the organization through writing, teaching, or research. This award was retired in 2020.

Robert_Bienkowski.jpgPRIM&R is pleased to present Robert S. Bienkowski, PhD, CIP, CHRC, with the 2019 Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Bienkowski is the Founding Director of the Office of Research Compliance at Central Michigan University.

Dr. Bienkowski has greatly contributed to PRIM&R as an organization. Since 2007, he has been part of the AER Conference Workshop/Didactic Sub-Committee six times. He has been a speaker at PRIM&R’s annual AER Conference nine times, conducting numerous panels and workshops, and he had an active role in organizing the earliest sessions for the Small Research Programs Track. He has been a member of PRIM&R for more than 15 years.

Dr. Bienkowski began his career as a primary investigator and researcher in biomedical science and pediatric clinical research. He has over 50 academic journal publications, book chapters, and conference presentations. He transitioned his career 20 years ago to focus on research oversight, and has since published in the areas of research administration and compliance. Dr. Bienkowski has been a keynote speaker and panelist presenter at over 15 compliance conferences.

In Dr. Bienkowski’s role at Central Michigan University (CMU), he led the CMU IRB to AAHRPP accreditation in June of 2017, becoming the fourth university or college in the state of Michigan to achieve this accreditation. He has also spearheaded an overhaul of the IRB submission and review process, linking each question to the 111 criteria.

In the words of the PRIM&R member who nominated Dr. Bienkowski:

Bob has long been an advocate for ethical research and has built or rebuilt several institution’s research protection programs to comply with federal standards. He has published extensively in multiple areas including basic science, clinical trials, and research ethics. He has been a regular presenter at PRIM&R conferences and has served on the Workshop/Didactic Sub-Committee. He has been a mentor to numerous people, including me, and he guided my institution into becoming one of the first non-academic centers to become accredited. Bob always stood up for what was ‘right’ even if it was the difficult thing to do. I value his integrity, and most of all, his friendship.

Dr. Bienkowski has made remarkable contributions not only to the PRIM&R community, but to the entire research ethics field. It is with tremendous gratitude that we celebrate his enduring impact by presenting him with the Distinguished Service Award.

PRIM&R is pleased to present B. Taylor Bennett, DVM, PhD, DACLAM, DACAW with a 2018 Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Bennett is the senior scientific advisor for the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR).

Dr. Bennett has made numerous invaluable contributions to the organization. He was a member of PRIM&R's IACUC Conference Planning Committee from 2008 to 2018, and served as co-chair of the committee from 2009 to 2012. During the conference planning process, he consistently provided ideas for keynote speakers, and extended his expertise to ensure the conference agenda included timely and late-breaking topics of critical importance to the field of research ethics and animal care and use. He has been a speaker at PRIM&R's annual IACUC conference since 2004, conducting numerous panels and workshops.

In addition to his contributions to PRIM&R, he spent 36 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) overseeing the animal care and use program. The last 10 of those years he served as the associate vice chancellor for research resources where he oversaw 14 campus wide research support core facilities. He also served as the program director for an ACLAM approved postdoctoral training program in laboratory animal medicine.

In the words of the PRIM&R member who nominated Dr. Bennett:

Dr. Bennett knows and understands more about the oversight process for humane animal research than any individual in biomedical research. Having been intimately involved in the oversight process since at least 1985 (when considerable amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) were deliberated by Congress), Dr. Bennett understands the federal regulations and the AWA better than many at the United States Department of Agriculture, the agency charged with enforcement of the AWA. As such, he is frequently sought as a resource by the government. His command of these issues has led to an untold number of experts in biomedical research seeking his guidance when considering compliance issues and, indeed, many laboratory animal veterinarians spent time under his tutelage before going on to advise some of the world's most notable pharmaceutical companies, universities, and contract research organizations on how to ensure animal welfare and follow the rules.

In Dr. Bennett's role at NABR, he has assisted many professionals in the animal care and use community with strategizing and coping with specific areas of disagreement with federal regulatory bodies. He has also participated in recent national discussions related to the continued use of nonhuman primates in research, implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act, and adherence to regulatory expectations to comply with animal welfare expectations and research objectives.

Given his service to the field, Dr. Bennett is the recipient of several awards: the Chicago Branch-AALAS Robert J. Flynn Award; the AVMA Charles River Prize; the UIC College of Veterinary Medicine Special Service Award; the AALAS Joseph J. Garvey Award; the Foundation for Biomedical Research Lifetime Achievement Award; the AVMA Animal Welfare Award; and the Wilford S. Bailey Distinguished Alumni Award from Auburn School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Bennett has made a remarkable impact not only on the PRIM&R community, but on the entire research ethics field. It is the utmost honor to celebrate his enduring impact by presenting him with a Distinguished Service Award.

P. Pearl O'RourkePRIM&R is pleased to present P. Pearl O'Rourke, MD with a 2018 Distinguished Service Award. Dr. O'Rourke is the director of human research affairs at Partners HealthCare System, Inc., in Boston, MA, and an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. O'Rourke has an esteemed history with the organization. She was a member of PRIM&R's Board of Directors from 2001 to 2016, and was appointed as chair in 2007. She has been a speaker at PRIM&R's annual Advancing Ethical Research (AER) conference since 2003 and beginning in 2007, has served on and co-chaired the AER Core Conference Planning Committee (CCPC) for numerous years. Dr. O'Rourke continues to be involved with PRIM&R as a member of the AER18 CCPC and the organization's Public Policy Committee. In addition to her wide-ranging contributions to PRIM&R, Dr. O'Rourke has worked as a pediatric critical care physician at Boston Children's Hospital and at the Children's Hospital at University of Washington in Seattle where she was the director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and a member of the institutional review board for many years. Throughout her career in pediatric critical care, she conducted clinical research in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, liquid ventilation, high frequency ventilation, and pediatric resuscitation. Dr. O'Rourke has also been involved in international medical care, serving in China and Indonesia with Project HOPE.

Dr. O'Rourke was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow in 1995-1996 and worked for Senator Edward Kennedy (Democrat-MA) as a member of the Labor Committee Staff. Following this fellowship, she became the deputy director of the Office of Science Policy in the Office of the Director at the NIH where she worked on issues such as privacy, gene therapy (transfer), embryonic stem cells, and genetic discrimination. Since 2001, she has been the director of human research affairs at Partners HealthCare System, Inc., where she leads the oversight systems for human subjects protections and stem cell research.

In the words of the PRIM&R member who nominated Dr. O'Rourke:

There are few people more deserving of the Distinguished Service Award than Pearl O'Rourke. Her unique contributions are wide-ranging, enduring, and ongoing. Pearl is a pediatric intensivist, who did her clinical work in critical care and conducted clinical research on ECMO and related technologies. Since the 1990s, Pearl has made many significant and valuable contributions to the ethical conduct of research… Dr. O'Rourke has attained distinction and wide recognition in promoting the purpose and ideals of PRIM&R through writing, teaching, and research. Her work is consistent with the stated mission of PRIM&R in that she strives to advance the highest ethical standards in the conduct of biomedical, behavioral, and social science research.

Dr. O'Rourke has made a remarkable impact not only on the PRIM&R community, but on the entire research ethics field. It is the utmost honor to celebrate her enduring impact by presenting her with the Distinguished Service Award.

Paula KnudsonMs. Knudson is a longtime mentor of IRB members and administrators, who has actively supported the education of anyone who expresses an interest in learning about ethical research. She has inspired generations of medical students and researchers, imparting the importance of ethical conduct in research, while teaching ways to operationalize the Belmont principles in everyday practice. Although she has held many positions, Ms. Knudson has always taken it upon herself to teach those around her.

For the last 10 years, Ms. Knudson has served as the special advisor for human subject research and faculty in the Center for Clinical Research and Evidence Based Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center Houston (UTHSCH). Previously she was the executive coordinator for the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects for 27 years.

In addition to the many contributions she has made at UTHSCH, Ms. Knudson has also been a leader in the field of human subjects protections. She was instrumental in providing commentary on the emergency waiver provision of 45 CFR 46, and has similarly worked with OPRR, OHRP, and FDA when new regulations and guidance were being considered. As noted by one of the two individuals who nominated her, Ms. Knudson "has been a voice for the protection of research participants since the beginning. She has many interests within the human subjects protections field, including community consultation, HIV/AIDS, international research, conflicts of interest, and the inclusion of women and minority populations in research, to name a few.

Ms. Knudson has been a driving force within the PRIM&R community as well. She has served on the planning committees and as faculty at nearly every PRIM&R human subjects protections conference since the 1980s, and hosted four successful conferences in Houston. Ms. Knudson has served as a member of the IRB 101sm faculty, and has taught nationally and internationally. She served on PRIM&R’s Board of Directors from 1984 to 2010, helping guide the organization from its early years to the thriving entity that we know today. She served on the Board’s Nominations and Elections Sub-committee for six years and on the Governance Committee for four years. Ms. Knudson also served as creator and editor of PRIM&R Through the Years, a compilation of presentations from more than 50 PRIM&R conferences held between 1974 and 2005. Ms. Knudson is passionate about her work and dedicated to the advancement of ethical research as evidenced by her continuing commitment to both PRIM&R and those working in the field.

Mary Jo ShepherdA self-proclaimed IACUC “geek,” Dr. Shepherd has been a tireless and effective advocate for her fellow IACUC administrators/coordinators and the critical role they play in ensuring quality animal care and use programs. She has actively promoted and participated in the education of all those who have expressed an interest in learning more about IACUCs, and that is but one of the many reasons why she is so deserving of this award.

Dr. Shepherd is also a generous and talented volunteer for a number of organizations working in the laboratory animal field. In fact, one can only wonder how she manages to maintain her “day job,” given the unending extracurricular activities in which she participates. The answers can be found in the reams of positive evaluations she receives each time she teaches, speaks, or writes, since, in addition to these considerable professional skills, it is Dr. Shepherd’s generous spirit, personal warmth, and easy humor that make her a beloved colleague to all who know her.

As the director of the Office of the IACUC at Columbia University, Dr. Shepherd administers two IACUCs for one of the largest animal care and use programs in the country. She has worked in the field of laboratory animal medicine since 1988, when she first became an IACUC member. Since that time, she has served as instructor, clinical veterinarian, attending veterinarian, IACUC member, consultant, scientist, and finally, as the professional administrator/director of several well-respected IACUCs, including at Pfizer, Merck, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia.

Dr. Shepherd has also volunteered for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science at the local and national levels as a trustee, member of the editorial review board and branch president. For more than 10 years, she has been actively involved in the planning of the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research’s annual IACUC seminar. Dr. Shepherd was also on the board of directors of Americans for Medical Progress for five years.

Dr. Shepherd has written numerous articles for magazines and journals, including Advances in Ocular Toxicology, Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science, Lab Animal, ILAR Journal, and Medical Device and Diagnostic Industries.

Beginning in 2001, she chaired multiple planning committees for PRIM&R’s annual IACUC Conferences, served as a faculty member at each of these meetings, and also been a central member of the preconference program faculties for Essentials of IACUC Administration. In addition, at the time of receiving this award, she was a member of PRIM&R’s Certification Committee, and was a founding member and past chair of the Council for Certified Professional IACUC Administrators (CCPIA). As chair of the CCPIA, she has worked hard to provide those in the profession with a highly visible and highly credible way to advance their knowledge and perform their duties in a professional manner. Largely through her dedication and the sheer force of her passion, Dr. Shepherd has been a key driver and sustainer of the CPIA credential.

Ivor PritchardDr. Pritchard has generously and graciously shared his time by being a PRIM&R faculty member since 1995. He has also co-chaired the Planning Committee for the Advancing Ethical Research Conference, taught at several of the pre-conference programs, and served as a speed mentor.

Dr. Pritchard has worked tirelessly in the field of research ethics at the national level for 25 years. In 1986, he joined the US Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences, a department for which he would serve as a senior research analyst until 2004. That same year he transitioned to the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) as a senior fellow. At the time of receiving this award, he was the senior advisor to the director of OHRP, where his responsibilities included advising the director, developing policies and guidance documents, and representing OHRP at the national meetings focused on the protection of human subjects in research.

Dr. Pritchard is a widely published author and co-author of articles on human subjects protections including, “Searching for ‘Research Involving Human Subjects:’ What is Examined? What is Exempt? What is Exasperating?” (IRB: Ethics & Human Research, 2001); “Travelers and Trolls: Practitioner Research and Institutional Review Boards” (Educational Researcher, 2002); “Ethical Standards of the American Educational Research Association: Cases and Commentary” (2002); “Students as Research Subjects” (The Encyclopedia of Bioethics, 2004); and “Power, Truth and Justice in Youth Participatory Action Research: Ethical Questions” (Practicing Anthropology: A Career-Oriented Publication of the Society for Applied Anthropology, 2004). He is also the author of a book titled, Good Education: The Virtues of Learning (1998).

Dr. Pritchard earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Haverford College (with honors in philosophy) and a master’s degree and a PhD in philosophy from Boston University.

Yvonne HigginsMs. Higgins has been contributing to the cause of ethics and responsibility in human subjects protections with devotion and diligence for more than 15 years. She is a strong advocate for ethical research and has worked hard to ensure that those charged with protecting subjects are educated and equipped with the tools that they need to excel in their jobs. In her “spare time,” Ms. Higgins is as a hands-on and tireless contributor to PRIM&R’s work. At the time she received this award, she was the executive director of the human research protections office at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Higgins was one of the first people to become a Certified IRB Professional (CIP®) in October 2000. She has been an active member of PRIM&R, has served as a dedicated and enthusiastic co-chair of the Workshop/Didactic Sub-Committee for PRIM&R’s Advancing Ethical Research Conferences, and has served as faculty at many PRIM&R conferences.

Charlotte ColeyMs. Coley has dedicated her career to the advancement of ethical research through the development and implementation of effective educational programs. In her current position at Duke University, where she is the director of IRB educational programs, Ms. Coley is responsible for developing and implementing an educational plan for the research community on IRB regulations, ethical principles, orientation for new IRB members, and education and training programs for new researchers and support staff. She also designs and implements lunch seminars, workshops and class lectures. She is a Certified IRB Professional (CIP®) and has 14 years of experience working with both behavioral and biomedical IRBs.

In addition to her duties at Duke, Ms. Coley has been an active member of PRIM&R for more than 10 years. She has co-chaired the conference planning sub-committee responsible for developing the hundreds of workshop/didactic sessions for PRIM&R’s Advancing Ethical Research conferences. She has also served as a faculty member at several of the conferences she helped plan. In addition, Ms. Coley has devoted considerable time and always positive energy to serving the PRIM&R community as a mentor, onsite conference volunteer, and "scholar buddy."

Prior to assuming her post at Duke, Ms. Coley served as IRB administrator at Battelle Memorial Institute in Research Triangle Park, NC. Her rich and varied career has been characterized by an impressive commitment to public service, and included stints with various national departments and agencies where she worked on a range of environmental and public health projects.

Ms. Coley has a bachelor’s degree in politics from St. Andrews Presbyterian College and a Master of Arts in College Teaching in political science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Jerry SugarmanDr. Sugarman’s contributions to both the field of research ethics and to PRIM&R have been profound and numerous. He has presented at PRIM&R conferences in every role from keynote speaker to breakout facilitator. Dr. Sugarman is a powerful and entertaining speaker and educator. The PRIM&R conference sessions during which he presents consistently receive the highest attendance and outstanding evaluation ratings.

At the time of receiving this award, Dr. Sugarman was the Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Bioethics and Medicine, professor of medicine, professor of health policy and management, and deputy director for medicine of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Sugarman conducts both theoretical and empirical research in medical ethics. His work concentrates on informed consent, research ethics, and the ethical issues associated with emerging technologies. He is the author of more than 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and he is the co-editor of four books. Dr. Sugarman is a contributing editor for IRB and is on the editorial boards of Accountability in Research, the American Journal of Bioethics, Clinical Trials, and Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics. He serves on the Scientific and Research Advisory Board for the Canadian Blood Service and is a member of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission. Among his other involvements, he is chair for the ethics working group of the HIV Prevention Trials Network, the ethics officer for the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium, and co-chair of the Johns Hopkins’ embryonic stem cell research oversight committee.

Bonnie LeeMs. Lee began working in the field of human subjects protections in the early 1970s and first served as a staff member for the Tuskegee Syphilis Study Ad Hoc Advisory Panel. Through this early work, she became keenly aware of the abuses and tragedies that can occur when research is conducted in an unethical manner. Ms. Lee next went to work as the administrative officer of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research where she was indispensable to the production of many reports and appendices that are as relevant and helpful today as they were then. Ms. Lee next served as staff to the President’s Advisory Biomedical Research Panel.

Ms. Lee’s experience with these initiatives motivated her to devote her professional life to promoting ethical research and to ensuring that research subjects are protected. She was a committed, highly visible, and exceedingly proactive employee of the FDA for almost 30 years. While at the FDA, Bonnie worked to ensure that the research enterprise continues to remember Tuskegee and other such egregious events to ensure that future generations do not repeat the tragedies of the past.

Ms. Lee was one of the first highly placed federal representatives to form a strong bond with PRIM&R. She understood that both the government and non-governmental organizations working in the human research protections field were interested in the same big picture and she was always ready, willing, and more than able to do whatever she could to advance PRIM&R’s mission and educational goals. Ms. Lee participated in more than 50 PRIM&R conferences and was always been a highly skilled and inspiring teacher. Ms. Lee passed away on November 10, 2007.

2005 - Ernest Prentice

2003 - Gary Chadwick and Susan Kornetsky

2002 - Joan Rachlin

2001 - Karen Hansen

2000 - Robert Nelson

1999 - Marky Pitts and Molly Greene

1998 - Ada Sue Selwitz

1997 - David Bernhardt

1996 - Helen McGough