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IRB Members: Service on the Sidelines

By NIEHS
April 2006

NIEHS Institutional Review Board
The NIEHS IRB meets monthly to review proposed studies involving people. IRB Chair Marian Johnson-Thompson, below left, honored IRB members Stephanie London, a senior investigator in DIR's Epidemiology Branch, and Ernest Kraybill, a retired pediatrician. London was appointed to the board in July 2002, and Kraybill was appointed in January 1999. Both members rotated off the board after the March meeting. (Photo by Colleen Chandler)

left to right, Marian Johnson-Thompson, Stephanie London, and Ernest Kraybill
(Photo by Colleen Chandler)

The NIEHS Institutional Review Board is, perhaps, at the core of the NIEHS intramural mission. Its members provide a service directly related to the NIEHS mission -- taking environmental health research into the arena of human health. Members meet monthly to review proposed research involving human participants. All such studies require IRB approval. Ongoing studies require initial IRB approval, and continuing review is an annual requirement.

Researchers with such aspirations submit packets of information containing an application approved by branch chiefs, the Scientific Review Committee and the NIEHS clinical director, along with the study protocol, informed consent documents, all study questionnaires, brochures, advertisements, press releases and any other printed outreach material that will be given to participants, IRB approvals from cooperating institutions, details about the specific demographics and exclusions for the study, a list of risks and benefits associated with the study, a list of anticipated complications and side effects as well as a plan to address them, and information on how investigators intend to protect study participants.

When reviewing continuing studies, the IRB may request the protocol be rewritten or modified to reflect suggested changes.

Jane Lambert, the IRB administrator, coordinates the meetings and prepares material packets for distribution to IRB members. More information on the IRB and the submission process can be found at http://dir.niehs.nih.gov/dirosd/ocr/irb/irb_help.html.



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