After 20 years of service, Richard Greene, MD, PhD, announced his retirement last month from his position as chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Kessler Foundation. Dr. Greene’s successor is Jeanne Zanca, MPT, PhD, senior research scientist in the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research at Kessler Foundation. In addition to assuming the role of IRB chair, Dr. Zanca was promoted to assistant director of the Center.
Dr. Greene earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University and his doctorate in molecular biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He began his career at Kessler Foundation in June 2002. He brought with him decades of experience including research positions with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and New York Presbyterian Hospital, and teaching positions at Columbia University, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and New Jersey Institute of Technology.
“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, said Dr. Zanca. “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.
“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.
As IRB chair, Dr. Zanca’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the Foundation’s research protects the rights and safety of research participants. She oversees 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. Dr. Zanca also serves 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.
As assistant director for the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research, Dr. Zanca will continue her research in secondary complications of spinal cord injury (SCI). 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. Her current research focuses on promoting self-management of chronic pain and its consequences and improving quality of personal care assistance services for people with SCI.
Dr. 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.
Dr. Zanca is a research associate professor at Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School. She is also co-investigator for the Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury System (NNJSCIS), a federally funded Spinal Cord Injury Model System (SCIMS), and co-chair of the national SCIMS Knowledge Translation Committee.
Dr. Zanca serves on the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) Board of Governors and is chair of the Rehabilitation Treatment Specification Networking Group. Her service with ACRM includes past chair of the Spinal Cord Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group (SCI-ISIG) and membership in the Program Committee and Training Institute Committee.
Dr. 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, Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD.
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes – including employment – for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org