Who's Afraid of the IRB?

Bolstering the Infrastructure

Vol. 9 No. 1
September 2006

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Who's Afraid of the IRB?
How the Institutional Review Board stepped into the research culture gap

Bolstering the Infrastructure

"If you look at the exponential growth in the amount of research dollars at Emory in 1990 as compared to 2005–06, it’s clear that we hadn’t invested in the overall infrastructure to keep pace with the volume of research and research dollars flowing through the institution."

"The granting organizations aren’t stupid. They’re going to go where they think can get a trial done fastest. If we’re slow, they’ll know about it and go somewhere else. When people approach me about doing clinical trials, they ask me how fast our IRB is. It’s one of their first questions."

Biography Redux
New interest in an old standard

Keeping Cultural DNA Intact
The Italian Virtual Class Chiavi di lettura method

Mixed Messages
Ten years after the Emory Commission on Teaching

Encouraging Words
Suggestions from the Manuscript Development Program

Reading to help you write

Emory Indicators



In April, faculty received a letter from Michael Johns, Earl Lewis, and Bobby Paul. They thanked Karen Hegtvedt and Mark Risjord for their service as chair and vice chair of the Social, Humanist, and Behavioral Science Committee of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and offered regrets for actions that had “fallen short of the standards of collegiality and courtesy that are fundamental to our community.” The rest of the letter outlined plans for the IRB, which were expanded upon in a subsequent letter from Johns alone.

Among the changes:

• A 100-percent increase in the number of research protocol analysts in the IRB Office, and an increase in the total IRB budget of more than 80 percent.

• Consulting firm hired to identify and recommend solutions for systemic problems.

• Increase in the number of IRB members designated to perform expedited and exempted reviews.

• Creation of an IRB advisory council.

• Increase in stipend paid to IRB Vice Chairs, and develop a reward system for IRB committee members.

• Primary contact designated at each school or department and in the IRB office for students.

• Increase in the number of subcommittees for conducting full board reviews from five to seven.

• Re-constitution of SHB once “additional members are appointed and membership training is completed.” The committee will have two vice chairs, one from the college and one from public health.

• As of early July, IRB accepts only electronic submissions.