So, my research project got approved by expedited review yesterday by a representative of our Institutional Review Board (IRB). I am fond of this particular reviewer. He is an M.D./J.D., which is impressive in itself. He has a bronze star. He fought in Vietnam. He was a sheriff. He was a state legislator. He was a head and neck surgeon. He ran the correctional medical system in Florida for a while. Now he’s a professor at our school on many surgical topics, on Medical Ethics (he wasn’t the one who I had issues with) and on Medical Jurisprudence. I like to joke around that he’s training to be an astronaut next.
Well, he read through my IRB application. Since my project is a simple survey with no compromising or legally sensitive questions of physicians, who are not a vulnerable population, it qualified for an expedited review. But, the reviewer warned me that even though the IRB committee should not override his approval, it was still a possibility. I got hints of political undercurrents in his explanation.
Well, apparently they were warranted. I got an email telling me to not perform my study on any human subjects yet! I need to go talk to the chairman of the IRB, since my mentor is on the IRB and is one of my coinvestigators. Even though she isn’t the one who performed the expedited review. Even though the same situation is true for the other research fellow (my fellow fellow), who was approved last week by the same reviewer performing a similar expedited review. So, I am going to keep my head low, and forward the information on to the reviewer and my mentor and see what happens.
I don’t anticipate there will be any major problems in getting my study approved, since it really is a low risk study with a focus well within the normal boundaries of medical academic research. I think this is the typical kind of static one encounters when dealing with anything with the term “institutional” right in the name.
So, I’m treading water. I did take all of the suggestions on my questionnaire that were offered, and I want to thank everyone for their time and good ideas. I think my questionnaire was unquestionably improved. I will post an updated version soon.