How do we ensure that clinical and translational research at UHN is of the highest ethical quality? 


Here are a few suggestions:
  • Create a centralized clinical trials support unit that is UHN-wide, which would serve to ensure that all studies meet audit requirements and other quality measurements.
  • Increase transparency in the information provided to the Research Ethics Board.  In some cases there is disconnect between the study submission and intended work and standardized protocol may not represent practical work. 
  • Assign an experienced mentor to investigators who are new to clinical research.  The mentor will help to ensure that the clinical research performed by less experienced investigators meets all ethics and quality requirements. 
  • Streamline administrative research  processes to make it easier and less time-consuming for researchers to implement and meet institutional requirements.
  • Institute membership should be expanded to include all principal investigators who are conducting research at UHN.
We should develop a better research culture to emphasize that reviews and internal audits help us enhance our reputation. A good example is the culture at the Animal Resources Centre. Continuous self-audits have proven successful among researchers and could be used as a tool to reduce misconduct.
We need better training programs. E-training modules are insufficient and ineffective.

For instance we could develop an in-person course for all principal investigators on proper note taking, data storage and archiving, and research misconduct. 

Mandatory hands on training and standardization around methodology, image processing and analysis, and record keeping (both paper and electronic) could be instated for trainees.

Agreed. E-training modules are insufficient.