The silent majority: who speaks at IRB meetings

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Ethics Committees, Research


Bioethics and Medical Ethics | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


The practice of maintaining large Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) raises the question whether membership that extends much beyond the minimal regulatory requirements is necessary. Anecdotal data suggest that chairs and reviewers assigned for each protocol may make the greatest contributions to discussions, but to date there have been no systematic data describing how frequently anyone other than an assigned reviewer or the chair participates in protocol discussions. If "ancillary" participants rarely speak, then it is difficult to argue that these participants play an important role in IRB deliberations. We use data from a unique observational study of IRBs at major academic medical centers to examine this question.


Citation: IRB. 2012 Jul-Aug;34(4):15-20. Link to article on publisher's website

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed