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Selwitz Honored By National Ethics Group

The Applied Research Ethics National Association (ARENA) honored Ada Sue Selwitz with the group's distinguished service award at the annual meeting last November. One award is given each year to an individual who exemplifies outstanding professional dedication to the ethical use of human subjects and animals in research, and in ensuring compliance with federal regulations.

Photo of Ada Sue SelwitzMore than 800 colleagues attended the meeting in San Diego, which was held in conjunction with the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research national meeting. ARENA's membership includes professionals from academic health science centers, community-based hospitals, industry, the federal government and universities in the United States.

"I was totally shocked to get this award," says Selwitz, who directs the Office of Sponsored Program Development as well as the Research Subjects Office (RSO) at the University of Kentucky. She was also surprised at how she found out about the award. Selwitz was sitting with about 800 other ARENA members at the opening plenary session when her named was announced as the recipient.

"I'm just very touched to be recognized publicly like this, not only by my peers in administration but also by ARENA's members in the faculty ranks at various universities in the country," she says.

Selwitz, a native of Murray, Kentucky, who taught at Berea College in Kentucky in the '70s, has been involved since 1979 with promoting ethical conduct in research on both a local and a national level.

For example, she chairs the public policy committee for ARENA, which has important input on development of federal regulations on protecting human subjects in research. "I've worked hard as UK's representative to impact public policy," Selwitz says, adding that she worked especially hard in the area of including women and minorities in clinical trials.

Selwitz is also proud of the work she spearheaded with her colleagues in the Research Subjects Office. Last year the RSO gave 34 presentations at the university to promote ethical conduct in research. And Selwitz takes this message to the national arena as well, giving 10 to 15 workshops or presentations a year on ethical conduct of research and research administration.

"I've met some of the top policymakers in the country at these national meetings and, truthfully, I've often learned more in presenting than I may have given to my audience," Selwitz says.

"Ada Sue is unquestionably deserving of this award with her extraordinary talents and commitment to human and animal protection issues, not only through her leadership on this campus, but also through her long and dedicated service to ARENA," says Thomas Foster, a professor in UK's College of Pharmacy who has worked with Selwitz for more than 15 years.