Kessler Foundation announces change in leadership for Institutional Review Board

Dr. Jeanne Zanca assumes IRB chair, following two decades of service by Dr. Richard Greene

After 20 years of service, Dr. Richard Greene announced his retirement last month from his position as chair of the Institutional Review Board at Kessler Foundation. Jeanne Zanca, senior research scientist in the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research at Kessler Foundation, has been appointed as his successor.  In addition to assuming the role of IRB chair, Zanca was promoted to assistant director of the center.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I take on the role of IRB chair in addition to my new position as assistant director of SCI research, Zanca stated. “I am looking forward to working with our well-established team to ensure that we protect the rights and welfare of our research participants and facilitate our organization’s diverse portfolio of research.

Zanca, a research associate professor at Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School, is also co-investigator for the Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury System, a federally funded Spinal Cord Injury Model System, and co-chair of the national SCIMS Knowledge Translation Committee.

“I have experienced the IRB review process from both sides – as a researcher and an IRB member. Institutional Review Boards play a key role in both regulatory compliance and enabling discoveries that can change the lives of people with disabilities. I will work with our team to maintain our IRB’s highest level of standards while reflecting institutional policies, federal regulation, and guidance,” she added.

Zanca’s primary responsibility as IRB chair will be to ensure that the foundation’s research protects the rights and safety of research participants. She will oversee IRB activities, including reviews of research protocols; analysis and sharing of information about new or modified requirements for the conduct of clinical research; research protocol audits; reports on grant status to management and funding agencies; and maintenance of resource documents required for grant applications. Zanca will also serve as Kessler Foundation’s liaison with Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, Children’s Specialized Hospital, and Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School in matters related to the IRB and Fellowship Training committees.

In her dual role as assistant director for the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research, Zanca will continue her research in secondary complications of spinal cord injury. Her emphasis is on empowering interventions – programs or services that enable people with SCI and their loved ones to take the actions needed in everyday life to prevent and manage complications of SCI.

Zanca contributed to the development of the Rehabilitation Treatment Specification System, which provides a theoretical framework designed to improve research design and reporting, health professions education, and uptake of evidence-based interventions in clinical practice.

Zanca reports to the Foundation’s president and CEO Rodger DeRose in her role as IRB chair. As assistant director of the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research, she will continue to report to the Center’s director, Dr. Trevor Dyson-Hudson.

Dr. Jeanne Zanca, newly appointed chair of Institutional Review Board (IRB) and assistant director of the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research at Kessler Foundation.