The charge of the Washington & Jefferson College Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to protect the rights and welfare of human participants involved in research by minimizing risk and ensuring that participants agree to participate voluntarily from an informed perspective. Such protections are mandated by federal regulations governing research involving human participants and are crafted by individual institutions to reflect the community standards of the institution. The IRB exists in order to provide a climate for research and scholarly activity that is fertile and flexible insofar as possible while protecting the well-being of human participants.
Protection of the rights and well-being of human participants involved in research is a concern of Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) and is mandated by specific provisions in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). As required by the federal regulations, the IRB was established at W&J to assure protection of human participants and to ensure compliance with the regulations. As a teaching institution, W&J values the opportunity to provide undergraduate students with a complete research experience. To this end, all original student research carried out by students requires submission to the IRB for approval. All agencies of the federal government that conduct or sponsor research relating to human participants are concerned with protection of the rights and well-being of the participants. However, the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration are the lead agencies for oversight of research involving human participants. OHRP has general responsibility for the protection of human research participants and ensures compliance with 45 CFR 46. FDA regulates the use of experimental drugs and medical devices and ensures compliance with 21 CFR 50, 56. The College's IRB policies and procedures apply to any research activity which involves human participants, whether such research is undertaken on a large or small scale, whether it is preliminary or fully designed, whether it is student or faculty research, whether it is funded or non-funded, and whether it involves minimal risk or more than minimal risk.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
More information is available on the Office for Human Research Protections page of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website.