In September 2014, University at Buffalo restructured its four IRB committees into committees that can review all types of protocols. This structure allows for more frequent meetings and is aimed at increasing efficiency and standardizing practices across the HRPP program. These changes are necessary, particularly with the increase in the number of protocol submissions we are experiencing.
We are committed to improving your experience with the IRB and are initiating the following to address the issues voiced:
- To reduce the current backlog of protocols awaiting approval, we have contracted with an outside firm to assist our IRB. This engagement begins on Monday, April 20, 2015, with two staff on site full time for a two week period; those staff will primarily focus on processing all protocols currently backlogged. In addition, four additional IRB staff were hired in January 2015. This increase in IRB staff, coupled with the effort of the engaged outside firm, should help us become current on all protocols. Staff we have in place now (and planned new hires) should then be able to achieve acceptable turnaround time for future IRB reviews.
- The IRB Meeting Coordinators are endeavoring to assign deferred protocols back to the original committee that provided the initial review (or at minimum, to the original committee chair) in an effort to address inter-committee inconsistencies. Deferred protocols going back to committee, any committee, are viewed as new submissions and are reviewed in that manner which may uncover additional items that require attention.
- Currently the IRB is recruiting an administrative point of contact person in order to direct inquiries appropriately, and we hope to have that position filled within the next month. The main number for the IRB is 829-2752; please address all queries to this number.
- The administrative point of contact (when hired) will strive to answer questions immediately. In cases where questions require feedback from another IRB member, every effort will be made to respond to the inquiry within 24 hours.
- The University at Buffalo has established the University-wide Clinical Research Office in order to assist Investigators with protocol pre-submission, questions or difficulties. Information on the CRO can be found here.
- The CRO and IRB are working together to develop a template to streamline the submission protocols for expedited review, as well as to better accommodate social and behavioral studies.
We appreciate your patience and support as we continue working to implement these improvements in the IRB process.