Institutional Review Board (IRB)

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

Issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice have particular implications with regard to human subjects research and are particularly important to the Roosevelt IRB. IRBs concerned with diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice must address these matters as they impact researchers, potential researchers, and potential research participants.

IRB Composition: The Roosevelt University IRB, has members who commit to, as a matter of personal and professional practice, employing principles of fairness in all matters related to their colleagues and students.

Researchers: The Roosevelt IRB address all research projects strictly with regard to any ethical or legal concerns they raise without treating researchers differently or unfairly based on social groups to which they may belong (by gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, ability, nationality or any other social category for which people may be devalued).

In cases where a researcher from a socially devalued group proposes a project that raises issues of legal or ethical concern, the Roosevelt IRB is committed to working through the concerns with the researcher and addressing them jointly so that the research project may go forward on a timely basis with the ethical or legal concerns addressed. Here, as elsewhere, the IRB treats researchers with equal respect, dignity, and support regardless of who they are (and, where necessary, takes care to treat researchers from underrepresented and disenfranchised groups in ways that assure them of their value as researchers).

Finally, the Roosevelt IRB encourages faculty and community members to commit to addressing IRB-relevant issues related to the protection of human subjects within the framework of regulatory guidance provided by the Office of Human Research Protections. The IRB commits to working in consultation with experts in relationship to any matters that require expertise not present among the current members, particularly if the review addresses matters related to socially and financially vulnerable populations that requires such expertise. The IRB administrator encourages those responsible for working with student researchers to make sure that they work closely with faculty advisors with both expertise on their subject areas and the ability to address any presenting issues that might be project related. When this occurs, the IRB is careful to separate project discussions more generally from IRB discussions in particular so as to assure that students are clear about which aspects of such a conversation are IRB-relevant and which simply entail support from their faculty advisor, who will be deemed equipped to provide adequate guidance to project-related discussions.

Potential researchers: The IRB chair and administrator are committed to education and outreach to the Roosevelt University community. The IRB chair and administrator respond to invitations and conduct outreach with faculty in order to increase the number of visits to classes to teach about the IRB, its history and its laws, and our internal application and submission process. We are particularly interested to work with classes that teach about how to carry out research projects. When appropriate, this discussion also includes coverage of the challenges of studying members of socially devalued and marginalized groups as well as tips for approaching such research with respect and with the capacity to build rapport with participants. The IRB administrator has similar conversations with students who arrange meetings to discuss project ideas one-on-one. In order to ensure that all researchers have the opportunity to submit well-prepared IRB applications or address any concerns found by the IRB administrator upon initial review of IRB applications, the IRB offers regular, weekly officer hours to the entire Roosevelt University, both online for Schaumburg faculty and student and in person at the Chicago campus.

Potential research participants: The ethical system that undergirds the Roosevelt IRB includes concerns that potential research participants should neither be excluded based on irrelevant characteristics (that may include socially devalued identities) nor coerced to participate (a risk with economically poor people and members of socially devalued or politically oppressed groups). The IRB application addresses the second of these concerns directly, while the IRB chair works with researchers whose projects raise the possibility that the first concern might be relevant in order to maximize the opportunity of people to participate in research if they wish.

The Roosevelt IRB commits to addressing concerns raised with a given research project that runs the risk of burdening members of a devalued group while a privileged group reaps the benefits of the research findings. This is primarily a problem when researchers are from privileged groups and research participants are from devalued groups. The IRB member checklist includes a question that addresses this type of situation and when such situations arise the IRB chair or administrator works directly with the researcher(s) to minimize burdens on participants as well as (where possible) addressing matters related to benefits to the participants in appropriate ways

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