In general, an institutional review board (IRB) is a committee charged by the U.S. government with protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects involved in research. The use of IRBs began in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) when a memorandum issued in 1966 required that investigators receiving funding from public health grants obtain a review of research by a committee of institutional associates.
The Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board began in 1971 as the "Committee on Investigations Involving Human Subjects." From 1972 to 1983, it was known as the "Human Studies Committee." It was not until 1984 that the term "Institutional Review Board" was first used at Mayo Clinic.
The primary mission of Mayo Clinic's IRB is to ensure the protection of rights, privacy and welfare of all human participants in research programs conducted by Mayo Clinic and associated faculty, professional staff and students.
Coexistent with participant protection is the goal of providing quality service to enhance the conduct of research. To achieve this goal, the IRB has the authority to review, approve, modify or disapprove research protocols submitted by faculty, staff and student investigators within Mayo Clinic. The IRB review process is guided by federal rules and regulations and is based on the Protection of Human Subject Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the Belmont Report and provisions of 45CFR46 — "Protection of Human Subjects" requiring institutions that receive federal funds to have all research involving human participants approved by an IRB.
The Mayo Clinic IRB director is William J. Tremaine, M.D.