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Ethical Protection of Human Research Participants

Studies that involve human research participants are generally overseen by Independent Ethics Committees (IECs). In the United States, these committees are known as Institutional Boards (IRBs). Other names for IECs include Research Ethics Boards (REBs), Ethical Review Boards (ERBs), and Research Ethics Review Boards/Committees (RERB/RERCs). Although the names and legal bases for IECs may vary in different parts of the world, all IECs are charged with protecting human research subjects.

The Life Chiropractic College West Institutional Review Board (LCCW-IRB) is administered by the Life West Research Department, to ensure the protection of the rights, safety, and welfare of human subjects who participate in research conducted by faculty, staff, students, and affiliates of the college.

The IRB provides regulatory oversight of research that involves human subjects, consistent with ethical principles and federal, state and local regulations. The LCCW-IRB structure and function is in accordance with the Federal Wide Assurance (FWA) issued to Life West by the US Dept of Health and Human Services, Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP).

The Life West IRB applies federal regulations described in 45 CFR 46, also known as the Common Rule, as a framework for the review and monitoring of all human subjects research that is conducted by faculty, staff, students, and affiliates of the college, regardless of funding source or location.

IRB reviews of human subjects research are guided by the three fundamental ethical principles that form the basis of the regulations codified in the Common Rule:

  1. Respect for persons: Protecting the autonomy of research subjects, treating them with courtesy and respect, and ensuring that their participation is voluntary by obtaining their informed consent.
  2. Beneficence: The philosophy of “do no harm” while maximizing benefits of studies and minimizing risks to research subjects.
  3. Justice: Ensuring non-exploitative, well-designed study procedures that are administered fairly and that ensure no one group receives disproportionate benefits of research or bears disproportionate burdens and risk.

*Definition of Human Subjects Research

The Common Rule defines research as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” Further, the Common Rule defines a human subject as a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research:

(i) Obtains information or biospecimens through intervention or interaction with the individual, and uses, studies, or analyzes the information or biospecimens; or

(ii) Obtains, uses, studies, analyzes, or generates identifiable private information or biospecimens.

From the Ethical Principles & Guidelines for Research Involving Human Subjects

For more information about Life West IRB, please contact the Research Department at  research@lifewest.edu. We welcome the opportunity to provide information and assistance, to all researchers (faculty, staff, students, affiliates) interested in submitting an IRB application to conduct human subjects research under the auspices of Life Chiropractic College West. For information specific to Life West sponsorship of human subjects research conducted in non-US (international) settings, please review our information about international research.

NOTE: Additional rules and guidelines may apply to Human Subjects Research funded by NIH and other federally funded research, and to FDA-regulated research.