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Institutional Review Board

Guiding principles

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Mather LifeWays protects human subjects in research. Whether the research is locally sponsored or subject to Federal regulation, every study must pass the scrutiny of the IRB for the sake of adhering to the highest ethical standards. Specifically, the IRB reviews all projects when the research:

  • is sponsored by Mather LifeWays
  • is conducted by or under the direction of any employee or agent of Mather LifeWays in connection with his/her responsibilities
  • is conducted by or under the direction of any employee or agent of Mather LifeWays using any of its property or residence
  • involves the use of Mather LifeWays non-public information to identify or contact human subjects

The IRB is guided by four overriding principles:

  • Subjects must be informed about the nature of the study and the details of their participation; their participation must be voluntary.
  • The benefits of the research must outweigh the risks.
  • The risks and benefits of research should be evenly distributed among the possible subject populations.
  • Confidentiality and anonymity of subjects must be maintained.

In making its decisions, the IRB gives primary consideration to:

  • the risks to the subjects
  • anticipated benefits to the subjects and to others
  • the importance of the knowledge that may result
  • the informed consent process to be employed

Please e-mail Jennifer Smith at jsmith@matherlifeways.com or call her at (847) 492.7437.

IRB guidelines for investigators, forms, and consent form templates:

The Mather LifeWays IRB Guidelines for Investigators follow federal review guidelines. Researchers must complete the new project application for all research studies. An example consent form template outlines information and language required by the IRB.

The IRB generally meets monthly. As protocol submissions come to the IRB, however, they will be reviewed by staff for completeness. Staff will then recommend appropriate IRB review.

The review process:

There are three types of review possible: full review, expedited review, and exempt from further review.

Continuing review:

Federal regulations require that all human subjects research projects receive an annual re-review. High-risk projects may require more frequent review or reports. The terms for these special cases will be written in the original approval.

Pilot studies:

Pilot studies and feasibility studies require the same scrutiny as full-scale research projects.

Applications for pilot studies should be identified as such so that the IRB is aware of the true nature of the study.