Thursday, August 9, 2012

IRB Innovation: Streamlining Approvals Through Collaboration, Regionalization

AAHRPP Advance is an ideal forum for sharing innovative practices that have proved successful and can serve as a model for other research organizations. The following Advance post highlights the University of New Mexico Health Science Center’s (UNM HSC) institutional review board and its statewide and regional collaborations.

UNM HSC has turned to collaboration—with community-based organizations and fellow AAHRPP-accredited institutions—to develop an effective approval process that respects community values and facilitates clinical translational research.

Through its Clinical and Translational Science Center, UNM HSC serves all of New Mexico—more than 121,000 square miles. To cover such an extensive geographic region, UNM HSC has successfully partnered with organizations both within and beyond the state to provide more effective, efficient reviews for multisite studies. UNM HSC also has taken significant steps to engage the community in research and ensure that studies reflect the cultural sensitivities and priorities of New Mexico’s diverse population.

Within New Mexico: Community Engagement Efforts

  • UNM HSC serves as the IRB for more than 40 organizations statewide, including 16 of the state’s 19 Native American pueblos. As a result, researchers can move forward after receiving approval from a single IRB.
  • As part of its community outreach, UNM HSC has forged relationships with Health Extension Rural Offices across the state. HEROs act as liaisons between the IRB and their home communities, provide input on a broad range of research issues, and even serve on the IRB.
  • Human protection training for researchers now includes additional modules designed specifically for those conducting research in the pueblos. The training, which was developed in collaboration with the community, is a requirement for researchers interested in recruiting in the pueblos.

Beyond New Mexico: Facilitating CTSA Research

  • UNM HSC received National Institutes of Health funding under the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program in 2010. Since then, UNM HSC has partnered with two other CTSA organizations—the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Utah—to form a regional CTSA-driven IRB to streamline the review process for multisite trials.
  • All three organizations have agreed that multisite trials will be reviewed by a single IRB, an agreement made possible, in part, because all three are AAHRPP accredited and are comfortable relying on one another to uphold the highest research standards.

For more information on UNM HSC’s statewide and regional IRB efforts, contact Michael Briggs.

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