The Berea College Institutional Review Board is charged by the Federal Government with protecting human subjects involved in research. The IRB performs prospective and continuing review of protocols, the informed consent process, and the procedures used to enroll subjects in order to ensure that the human subject research is conducted ethically and in compliance with the Belmont Report, and with applicable federal, state, local and institutional requirements. Our webpage has links to Belmont Report as well as other critical background information on the formation of the IRB.
If you have any questions about the process of IRB review, please contact either Broughton Anderson, the IRB Chair or Jim Strand, administrative support. Either will be glad to assist you. In addition, a variety of documents related to the IRB process, including a link to the federal regulations and some founding documents on the ethics of research involving human subjects on the “Resources” tab on the navigation menu.
Current Board Members
- Scott Steele, Institutional Officer
- Broughton Anderson, Chair
- Chris Adams
- Dee Hill-Zuganelli
- Heather Dufour, Member
- Keith Long, Outside Community Member
- Jim Strand, IRB Administrative Support
2023 Spring Meeting Schedule
Please note that a full board review will take place during one of our monthly meetings. Plan accordingly so that protocols are submitted, in full, to Mentor before a meeting. Most expedited and all exempt protocols will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please expect at least a two-week turnaround.
A gentle reminder: your IRB is comprised of teaching faculty, full-time staff, administration, and an outside member of our community.
What Constitutes Human Subjects Research and What Research Needs to Be Reviewed?
Human Subjects are defined by federal law 45 CFR 46 as “a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research:
- Obtains information or biospecimens through intervention or interaction with the individual, and uses, studies, or analyzes the information or biospecimens; or
- Obtains, uses, studies, analyzes, or generates identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens.”
The National Institute of Health has a great tool to help with decisions about whether research falls under “Human Subjects” research and thus needing IRB approval: Am I Doing Human Subjects Research? Decision Tool
Determining Under What Category of Research A Study Falls
Protocols fall under 1 of 3 categories for review: full board; expedited; exempt.
To explore categories of research protocols prior to opening Mentor, the NIH has a range of decision charts, which generally assess research. Please be aware that individual projects may be more specific than these charts allow. If more information is needed, please ask the IRB.
Informed consent is critical to the protection of human subjects. The federal regulations outline the elements of informed consent in section 116 of the Common Rule: General Requirements for Informed Consent. To view other frequently asked questions about informed consent, please refer to this page.
Informed consent is the process of informing potential research participants about the key elements of the research study and what their participation will involve. The informed consent process is one of the central components of the ethical conduct of research with human subjects. The consent process should include providing a written consent document, which contains the required information (for example: elements of informed consent) and the presentation of that information to prospective participants.
This checklist provides the critical pieces necessary for a successful informed consent.
The IRB offers the following templates as guides to writing your consent forms. Not all protocols require a consent form and some protocols may only need a very truncated consent form (see below). We recommend using the templates here when full informed consent is required. You may still write your own consent form, but be sure to cover all the elements outlined in the template.
Please note: the IRB does not review the consent process for exempt protocols. It is up to the investigator to decide if informed consent is appropriate or not. In most cases, the exemption criteria anticipate that informed consent would not be appropriate.
Waiver or Modification of Informed Consent
Under special circumstances the IRB may permit a modification of the requirements for informed consent or a complete waiver of informed consent. The criteria for modification or waiver should be reviewed by the investigator.
The IRB may also waive the requirement for documentation of informed consent. The criteria for this waiver are spelled out in section 117(c) of the federal regulations: Documentation of Informed Consent
Below, please find more detailed information on select situations that arise or may arise during the length of a protocol, such as annual reporting and adverse effects. This is not a comprehensive list.
Certificates of Confidentiality
When research involves particularly sensitive information (e.g., drug use, genetic information, etc.) that is linked to subject identifiers, the IRB may require that the investigator secure a “Certificate of Confidentiality” from the NIH.
Any changes to existing protocols should first be reviewed by the IRB as they may impact the risk/benefit ratio of the protocol. To submit an amendment, go to the “view protocol” page and click on the “Amendments” tab at the bottom to find the link to upload the amendment. Include a summary of the changes. If the changes require modification of the original consent form, include the updated consent form along with the summary. Use track changes to highlight the changes being made.
Annual Reports/Continuing Review
Exempt protocols are not required to file continuing reviews on an annual basis but all protocols approved by expedited or full board review procedures are required to submit a continuing review report or termination. Mentor will automatically notify you of an impending report due date. Just go to the view protocol page and scroll down to the set of tabs at the bottom. The Annual Report tab is the first tab visible. Click on the Context Menu and select “Edit” and complete the resulting form.
In the event that a human subject is harmed as a result of participation in your project, it is necessary that you immediately inform the IRB. Go to the view protocol page and click on the Adverse Events tab. There is a button there to upload a description of the event. You should include in your summary your judgment of whether the harm to the subject was a result of their participation in the project or incidental to it. You should also indicate if you think that the event warrants any changes to your protocol or consent form. If so, you should then submit a protocol amendment. It is best to talk with the IRB chair before submitting your amendment.
Mentor and CITI Sign-In Information
Students, with CITI certification, may only submit classroom research and/or capstone projects with a faculty sponsor who has up-to-date CITI training credentials. If you are planning on having students conduct human subjects research, you must sign off and serve as a sponsor. Students no longer have the ability to submit protocols on their own.
Please make sure all CITI training is up-to-date.
* Berea is the institutional ID