Bioethics Blogs

Supporting Your IRB: It’s Not Just About the Board

by Rebecca S. Ohnemus, MAA, CRA, Research Officer at University of the Incarnate Word

As IRB administrators, we find ourselves on the frontlines. Whether you’re a director, administrative support person, or anywhere in between, an incredible amount of time is consumed facilitating the transfer of information between the IRB and your institution’s research community.

If all a person knew about our work was the brief bit from the regulatory description, “sufficient staff to support the IRB’s review and recordkeeping duties,” they would marvel at the volume contained between those words.

In a recent PRIM&R webinar, IRB Administration: Providing Stellar Support to your IRB, Maria Arnold, CIP, and Megan Kasimatis Singleton, JD, MBE, CIP, focused heavily not only on the direct support mechanisms that IRB administrators provide (e.g., record keeping, standard operating procedures, and regulatory compliance), but also on the intersections between providing IRB support and providing support for the research community more generally.

Drawn from Maria and Megan’s advice, here are a few ideas for strengthening the support you provide to the research community:

  1. Don’t play hide and seek. If members of the research community at your institution can’t find the necessary forms, policies, and deadlines for submission quickly and easily, there can be little expectation they’ll use them as intended. If your community knows where to go to find these resources and to seek assistance, they’ll be more likely to use them. Similarly, it is important to design your web pages or portals to be clearly laid out, accessible, and easily navigated.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.