Experience of community members in research ethics committees in Colombia
KeywordsComités de Ética en Investigación
Representante de la comunidad
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AbstractResearch Ethics Committees have the responsibility to protect the participants involved in researches and to guarantee the ethical behavior of researchers. In some institutions, such committees also review scientific projects of non-pharmaceutical areas, Public Health and Health Economics. Within this framework, the article analyzes what it means to be part of a Research Ethics Committee in a hospital or university based on personal experience as a community representative. By means of the convenience (accidental) sampling technique, implemented in four Colombian cities that have GCP-certified committees by INVIMA –National Institute for the Control of Medications and Food–, and by means of content analysis, based on fixed and emergent categories; the experience, perception, participation, representation, and ethical aspects are described as well as the learning process and personal contributions. Findings prove that representatives interviewed have been benefited by learning clinic and epidemiological aspects without necessarily being “experts in the community”. However, they seem not to recognize clearly the population they represent, which might lead these communities to being affected by certain particular studies. The article suggests to work on the minimal common elements that a community representative should possess to appropriately protect participants.