Institutional Review Board (IRB)
WCU IRB will continue to review applications over the summer. Application submission procedures and processing times will remain consistent with our established protocols. As you are thinking of research projects to possibly start in the summer &/or at the beginning of the fall semester - please be mindful of research start dates and allow the typical 4-6 weeks for the entire approval process to take place.
WCU is guided by the ethical principles regarding all research involving human subjects as set forth in the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research entitled, "Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research: The Belmont Report".
In addition, the requirements set forth in Title 45, Part 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations will be followed for all applicable Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funded research and for all other research without regard to source of funding.
Frequently Viewed/Helpful Documents
Revised Common Rule Now in Effect
Revisions to the Common Rule (federal human participant research regulations) went into full effect on January 21, 2019.
In accordance with this, revision, WCU requires all PIs to submit an updated IRB Application Form. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs recommends that all PIs watch this brief video, which provides and overview of the impact these changes may have on your IRB application process and complete the CITI IRB training for the Revised Common Rule.
What you need to know NOW
- The new requirements that must be implemented by the submitting team when making a
submission to the IRB:
- Complete the NEW IRB Application Form (pay particular attention to new exemption categories)
- Include a concise summary of key information for the informed consent form (after study title/research team information & before the full consent form).
What else is happening?
- Elimination of continuing review for Exempt and Most Expedited (minimal risk) studies
- New categories of secondary research that are exempt from the Common Rule
- Revised informed consent form requirements to address future use of data and/or biospecimens
- New and revised definitions for “human subject,” “identifiable biospecimens,” and
“clinical trial,” among others
- Note: there is a pending requirement to post informed consent forms for research meeting the definition of a clinical trial but the posting location and instructions for posting have not yet been provided; follow-up with the research community will occur once this is provided
- Please contact the IRB co-chairs, Dr. Melissa Reed and Dr. Nicky Cattano, if you have any questions. You can call or setup a Zoom meeting about any IRB matters.
- You may also contact the IRB staff with any questions/concerns/requests at email@example.com.
IRB Processing Time and Procedures for Submitting to the WCU IRB:
Initial review of your application will take place within three weeks of when the IRB reviewer receives your application. You will receive an email when your application is sent to a reviewer. Your IRB reviewer may request edits and changes to your application, this can take an additional two to three weeks to complete. Please plan ahead and allow at least one month for the entire review, revision, and approval process to be completed. The IRB cannot honor requests for a "quick turnaround" or reviews completed by a certain date.
- Please click on this link, informed consent creator, to start your consent form. This is a new form to help you easily create a consent at the proper reading level.
- Complete the form in its entirety
- You will be given the opportunity to review the form before submission
- After you preview the form, click submit
- Your consent form will be e-mailed to you as an editable Word Document
After you receive and review the document:
- Make any necessary changes, but avoid editing too much since you may increase the reading level
- Once you are finished with the document, please complete a spelling/grammar check on it including the reading level.
- Access the directions for Readability Set Up . The highest reading level should be at an 8th grade level.
- Attach the consent form to your IRB application and follow instructions under “Procedure for IRB Application Approval”
Should you have any difficulties or questions, you cancontact the Institutional Review Board
orcontact Dr. Cheryl Monturo.
- Utilize the Health and Human Services Human Subject Regulation Decision Charts to determine if your activity is research that must be reviewed by an IRB.
- If you have determined that your research must be reviewed by an IRB please follow
the following steps:
Submit the IRB Application Formvia e-mail
**This updated form is in compliance with the revised common rule and is the only version that the IRB will accept (revised date 1.20.2019).
- You must submit the application as one Word document. All attachments must be converted to Word and added at the end of the application. If you have documents that are native PDF's (often scanned documents, and CITI certificates), please utilize the "take a snapshot" option in Adobe PDF (found under Edit). This will allow you to drag over an area of the document in order to copy it. Once copied, the information can then be pasted at the end of the IRB application form.
- Within 3-4 business days of the submission of your application, you will be copied on an e-mail which confirms that your application has been forwarded to an IRB committee member for review. This gives you the contact information for your reviewer.
- Within three weeks, you will receive an e-mail regarding the status of your application. If your reviewer requests revisions to your application, these revisions must be made to your original application using the "track changes" feature in Word. If revisions are requested, you will receive a Technical Review form (TR). Download blank form for reference . The TR form you receive will have specific instructions regarding changes that are requested. You will have two weeks to make the requested changes or request additional time and then the revised application can then be sent directly to your reviewer and copied to the IRB@wcupa.edu email address.
- Once your protocol is approved you will receive three PDF documents (Final Application, Final TR and Approval Document) and then you may begin your research. You cannot begin your research until you recieve these documents. Your protocol approval is good for one year and you must request additional time to extend (see Exempt Protocols Only: Protocol Renewal Procedure OR Expedited & Full Board Review Protocols Only: Federal Requirements for Continuing Review and Closure Procedure.)
WCU is a subscribing institution with The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program). CITI provides comprehensive online training in Human Subjects Research.
All PI’s, co-PI’s, and faculty sponsors submitting a new application to the IRB are required to create an Account with CITI and complete Human Subject Research Training. You will have two modules to choose from: Biomedical (Biomed) and Social-Behavioral-Educational (SBE). Please choose the module that is most closely related to your research.
Please follow the instructions below in order to create your account with CITI and begin your training: (please note, if you already have created a CITI account, please log-in and start at #10 below
- Go to citiprogram.org and click on Register under Create an account.
- Enter West Chester University into the Select Your Organization Affiliation text box (choose WCUPA when it appears as you type)
- Select Continue to Step 2
- Follow on-screen instructions for step 2-4
- For step 5, regarding CEU credits, please select No
- For step 6, you only need to enter the information with an asterisk
- For step #7, under Human Subject Research Courses, choose either the Biomedical or the Social-Behavioral-Educational training module. Choose the module that most closely relates to your research **do not select the IRB members or IRB administration module**
- Other courses can be selected as desired, but are not required for IRB applications
- After all courses have been chosen, click complete registration, and then click finalize registration.
- To begin the training, please select "Social & Behavioral Research - Basic/Refresher" or "Biomedical Research- Basic/Refresher" from your course list. **Do not select any Responsible Conduct of Research Module**
- If you do not see "Social & Behavioral Research - Basic/Refresher" or "Biomedical Research- Basic/Refresher" on your course list, please select "add a course or update learner groups" and under Human Subject Research Courses, choose either the Biomedical or the Social-Behavioral-Educational training module. Choose the module that most closely relates to your research**do not select the IRB members or IRB administration module**
- Once you pass the training, you much attach your completion report to your IRB application, in order for the IRB to accept the certificate, the course name must read "Social & Behavioral Research - Basic/Refresher" or "Biomedical Research- Basic/Refresher"
- If you have any questions regarding which trainings to register for, please contact:
NOTE: NIH Protecting Human Subject Research Participants’ training certificates are no longer being accepted with new applications. However, NIH training will still be accepted for revision and renewal applications (as long as the training has been completed within three years).
ALL revisions to WCU IRB approved protocols (even minor revisions such as adding a new student assistant’s CITI Human Subjects Research training completion report) must be submitted as a formal revision tothe Institutional Review Board
for review and approval. Please follow the following steps:
- Complete the IRB application form :
- Check off Yes to I.F. and provide the approximate date of review.
- Check off Revision to I.G. and provide the Protocol ID# of the original submission.
- Highlight the revisions in the body of the application. Unchanged portions of the application can be cut and pasted from your original application.
- E-mail the completed form (in Word format only) to the Institutional Review Board
- In the subject line of the e-mail, should read revision application of approved protocol.
- In the body of the e-mail, clearly list your revisions by application section (number/letter of section, or appendix documents)
Your application will be reviewed within three weeks. Failure to follow above instructions will result in return of your application and processing delays.
Upon completion of your project – WCU requires all investigators to close their research project. Investigators who wish to close their research study should complete this closure form in lieu of a Continuing Review Form.
Expedited & Full Board Review Only: Federal Requirements for Continuing Review and Closure Procedure
Except for human research studies that have been granted Exempt registration, Department of Health and Human Service's Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP) regulations requires the IRB to continually review ongoing research at intervals appropriate to the potential risk to participants, but at least annually.
Continuing Review Process (not required for those protocols approved as "exempt". See Exempt Protocols Only-Protocol Renewal Procedure)
- Approximately two months prior to your approval end date, you will receive a Continuing Review form .
- Complete this form even if your project has been completed or is discontinued.
- Return the form, as one word document, to the Institutional Review Board no later than two weeks after it is received.
- You will receive status of your continuing review within three weeks.
The Fall 2020 IRB Office Hours will be posted in September.
Dates and times for the Fall 2020 IRB Drop In/Open Sessions will be posted in September.
IRB Drop In/Open Sessions (drop in anytime during the hour):
- Address any questions/concerns on applications being prepared or considered
- Common Errors when submitting
- Opportunity to clarify any confusion
- Q&A with IRB Committee Members
- If there is a need to coordinate multiple IRB reviews of research that uses human subjects from more than one State System university, please follow the PASSHE State System Policy
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The Fall 2020 meeting schedule will be released in September.