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Human Subjects Division (HSD)

Quick Tips from HSD

Advice in an Elevator

Nov 7, 2013 at 12:00am

The research scientist stood in front of the Health Sciences BB elevators, waiting for what seemed like an eternity, when her colleague appeared at her elbow. He leaned over her shoulder.

"What are you reading?" He asked, as his coffee cup started dripping over the pages.

She sighed, shaking the paper, trying to rid it of the coffee before it soaked in too much. "I'm just going over my UW IRB application." She thumbed through the sheets of paper. "I want to make sure that I've got all the right attachments."

The elevator finally arrived. The researcher and her colleague stepped in. The elevator was full of people and a large food trolley. "I'm very excited about starting this new oncology study..." she continued. "I've just joined the Cancer Consortium, and they offer some great support services." She waived her application back and forth to dry off the spilled coffee.

"Oh no!" A voice piped up from somewhere at the back of the elevator. After some shuffling, the voice continued from behind the food trolley. "Don't apply to the UW IRB!"

"What the heck..." the research scientist scanned the crowded elevator, looking for the source of the voice. "This is happening far too often..." she mumbled under her breath.

The elevator lurched to a stop on the 3rd floor, and more people pushed on.

"Read the application cover page. Most UW cancer-related studies go to the Fred Hutch Cancer Consortium IRB instead of the UW IRB."

The researcher twisted around, trying to pinpoint the location of the voice. "You're not seriously hiding behind a food trolley, are you?"

"Give me a break," the voice squeaked back. "It's hard to be mysterious and deliver timely advice in an elevator."

"That mysterious voice is right you know. It says right here: 'Do not complete this form if you are member of the Cancer Consortium.'" The colleague tapped the cover sheet a few times. "Right here..."

The elevator stopped on the 4th floor. The researcher sighed again as more people pushed on and only two exited. "Well, the link is right here, I guess I can transfer all this information over."

"That's the spirit!" The voice from behind the trolley yelled. The elevator lurched to yet another floor and the person pushing the trolley started to move out. "After all, tomorrow is another day!" The voice moved along behind the trolley, out of the elevator.

"Someday, you're going to have to thank that mysterious voice." The colleague took a giant slurp of coffee.

"Uh, yeah." The research scientist scratched her head. "I just wish that voice would pop up before I filled anything out."