About the IRB

The Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board (IRB) ensures that the rights and well-being of potential research subjects are adequately protected.

The Institutional Review Board is charged with reviewing all studies involving human subjects for compliance with both Mayo Clinic institutional policies and with state, local and federal laws. The IRB also ensures that all studies comply with the ethical principles contained in the Belmont Report, such as respect for people, beneficence and justice.

The Mayo Clinic IRB is made up of four committees comprising at least five members, including Mayo Clinic scientists and nonscientists, and at least one member who is not affiliated with the institution.

In general, an institutional review board 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.

IRB history

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.

IRB mission

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 Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects ("Common Rule"), 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.

IRB leadership

The director of the Mayo Clinic IRB is R Scott Wright, M.D., a professor of medicine in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.