ORO/ORNL/ORISE Set DOE-Wide Model for Protecting Human Research Participants


The new site-wide Institutional Review Board (IRB) announced by the Oak Ridge Operations Office should be noted and copied by other Department of Energy operations offices and sites. It is a model of cooperation, adequate funding, and site-wide dedication to the goals of protecting human research participants. The new site-wide IRB will review all human subject studies whether participants are enrolled in a biomedical study, worker health study, an engineering study, or at Y-12, K-25, ORNL, ORISE, or by other funding agencies. This achievement was not a fast or easy process and required commitment from several contractors, long negotiations, and of course, full funding. The former ORNL/ORISE IRB (chaired by Dr. Shirley Fry until just recently) was an exemplary one for many years, but was limited in funding as well as authority over other sites at Oak Ridge. The DOE human subject protection program is encouraging all Oak Ridge sites to educate and publicize this new partnership to the local community and to other DOE sites as a model. In the era of increased workplace studies and so much attention to human subject research, sharing and spreading the word of this process is critical. ORO made the public announcement on January 23, 2001. It is hoped that other DOE regions will follow this lead.