After a comprehensive search, we are excited to share that Sarah Kiskaddon, J.D. has accepted the role of Director of the Office of Human Research Studies, which includes oversight of the DFCI Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the DF/HCC Scientific Review Committees which serve the entire Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center consortium.
Sarah comes to us with almost 25 years of experience working in the health regulatory, scientific review, IRB, and human subjects protection space, having held director roles overseeing these functions at Yale, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Columbia University Medical Center, AAHRP, and most recently the Inova Health System where she served as an Assistant Vice President for the Office of Research.
Recently we “sat down” (via zoom) with Sarah as she looked ahead to her first week of work in this role, and both her experience and comfort with the subject matter, as well as her excitement for the future with DF/HCC was palpable. “I look forward to meeting the team, closely examining all available data/metrics, and working together with all members of the OHRS team to develop goals for the future.” In addition, Sarah stressed that she will have a true open-door policy with staff, “Whatever that looks like in this COVID era,” she joked, and she feels strongly that staff should feel empowered to share ideas and speak up at meetings including IRB meetings.
“I am very interested in working with the team to design solutions to increase the efficiency and quality of the iRIS system and its related IRB and SRC reviews,” she said, when asked about her goals for her role at DF/HCC. “I don’t think that high quality and timeliness are inversely related to each other, quite the opposite” she added.
In addition, Sarah is interested in the issue of underrepresentation of minority groups in clinical trials in the DF/HCC catchment area. With a master’s degree in medical anthropology, Sarah is interested in cultural reasons why people do or do not participate in trials and how to promote trust in research ultimately increasing the generalizability of research results. Indeed, one could foresee Sarah partnering with DF/HCC’s Initiative to Eliminate Cancer Disparities and the newly formed Center for Cancer Equity and Engagement who are already engaged in this work.
As a former dance major in college and with an ongoing a hobby of ballet dancing, we expect Sarah to ‘grand jeté’ into her role, and gracefully bourrée into a strong leadership figure for our Office of Human Research Studies. Please join us in congratulating Sarah on this well-deserved position!