The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

The Office of the Associate Dean of Research UTRGV School of Medicine

Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Human Subjects Protection

The UTRGV's Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews all research that meets the definition of “human subjects research”. The board is made up of UTRGV faculty, staff, and members of the community. The board evaluates research proposals to make sure the planned research follows the ethical principles of human subjects protection and that it adheres to university policies and federal regulations.

IRB Members

  • Dr. Wendy Lawrence Fowler, IRB Vice Chair – Acting Chair (Professor, Computer Science)
  • Dr. Rector Arya, IRB Member (Assistant Professor, STDOI)
  • Dr. Sandra Laston, IRB Member (Associate Professor, STDOI)
  • Dr. Bianca Cruz, IRB Member (Clinical Assistant, Cooperative Pharmacy Program)
  • Dr. Saydur Rahman, IRB Member (Assistant Professor, Biology)
  • Dr. Frederick Ernst, IRB Member (Professor, Psychological Science)
  • Dr. Jonathan Guist, IRB Member (Associate Professor, Music)
  • Dr. Arturo Vasquez, IRB Member (Professor, Marketing)
  • Dr. Karin Lewis, IRB Member (Assistant Professor, Human Dvt. & School Services)
  • Dr. Stephanie Brickman, IRB Member (Professor, Human Dvt. & School Services)
  • Mr. Felipe Salinas, IRB Member (Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations)
  • Rebecca Stocker, IRB External Member (Executive Director, HOPE Family Health Clinic)
  • Kimberly Fernandez, Ex-Officio Non-Voting IRB Member (Sr. Research Compliance Specialist, Office of Research Compliance)

Drop-In Opportunity

Achieving ethical clearance for human subjects research can be a daunting task. To assist in the process, the UTRGV Institutional Review Board is opening the doors for an Open House Hours every second Monday of each month. Whether you have a concern, a question, a suggestion, or idea regarding the IRB or your human subjects research protocol, we are here to assist! No appointment needed. Come and chat with those responsible for research ethics at UTRGV. We are happy to help YOU achieve your research goals in a timely way!

See you there, every second Monday of each month from 2-4PM

Call us at (956) 665-2093 to find out location information. We will have Open House Hours in Edinburg and in Brownsville.


IRB Meeting Schedule and Submission Deadlines

Human subjects research proposals are reviewed via one of three processes: “exempt”, “expedited”, or “full”. “Exempt” and “Expedited” review is possible with certain categories of research (as specified in the federal regulations) and may be reviewed outside of the full IRB committee by one or more experienced IRB members (generally the IRB Chair). Protocols that do not qualify for exempt or expedited review must be reviewed by the full IRB committee at a convened meeting.

  • For full review, the deadline for protocol submission is the first Tuesday of each month. The IRB will only review complete protocols (no missing items) submitted by the deadline. In most cases, protocols are not complete and are sent a list a missing items. It is best to submit the protocol well before the deadline to ensure you have enough time to submit all missing items by the deadline. IRB committee meetings are scheduled approximately 2 weeks following the monthly submission dates. The exact meeting dates are based on committee member schedules and are therefore variable from semester to semester. The IRB Committee does not generally meet during the Summer months. If you anticipate conducting research during the Summer, you must submit your protocols by the May deadline.
  • Expedited and Exempt protocols are reviewed in the order received; there are no deadlines for these protocols. Please note that "expedited" refers to the fact that it is not subject to review by the full committee, but does not guarantee a fast approval process. Please submit your IRB applications as early as possible before the anticipated start date.

Submit a Request for IRB Approval

In order to submit your new application you must first register on IRBNet using a valid e-mail address. Using your UTRGV assigned email address is recommended, but, do not use your UTRGV credentials (Username/Password) when registering. During the registration process, you will be sent a confirmation email to the e-mail address that you have provided to IRBNet to finalize your registration. In the IRBNet library you will find a list of forms and templates available for your use

Link to IRBNet Website [http://www.irbnet.org]

IRBNet Instructional Documents

  1. Read This First
  2. IRBNet - Application Requirements
  3. IRBNet - Modification Request Requirements - Submission
  4. Continuing Review Request Requirements - Submission

IRBNet Training Documents

  1. IRBNet Energizer - New User Registration
  2. IRBNet Energizer - New Project Submission
  3. IRBNet Energizer - Post-Submission Advanced Topics
  4. IRBNet Energizer - Messages and Alerts
  5. IRBNet Energizer - Multisite Projects
  6. IRBNet Energizer - Submitting a Revised Project Package (Modification)
  7. IRBNet Energizer - Training and Credentials 

Create an Online Survey

All online surveys are required to be conducted using Qualtrics survey software. Access to this software is provided by UTRGV and managed by UTRGV's IT department. This service can be used to create, manage, distribute and analyze surveys.

  • For Faculty: You have access to Qualtrics on your MyUTRGV account by clicking the survey icon.
  • For Students and Staff (Full Time/Part Time) you must request access by using the ServiceNow icon on your MyUTRGV account. Please submit a request access ticket.

For questions regarding requesting access or using Qualtrics, please submit a service request ticket.

YOU MUST OBTAIN IRB APPROVAL PRIOR TO DISTRIBUTING YOUR SURVEY. DISTRIBUTING ANY SURVEYS WITHOUT IRB APPROVAL IS AGAINST UTRGV POLICY.

Below is the online survey consent page template. Please use this template for your online survey, because it includes all required elements of consent:

Online Survey Consent Page

Online Survey Requirements:

  1. The first page of the online survey should always be the consent page. See template above.
  2. The consent page should end with an "agree" and "disagree" button, so that respondents can consent to participation. Please make sure that when participants select the "disagree" button, they are exited out of the survey. This question should a forced-answer question, requiring an answer in order to move on to the survey questions.
  3. Please make sure that participants are able to skip questions (aside from the consent question), if they choose to. Please note, this is a setting that you must change in Qualtrics. This will be verified during the review process.

Please note, Qualtrics has a default setting to record specific identifiers (Name, ID, or IP Address) from respondents. If you are conducting an anonymous online survey, you must change that setting and provide proof to the IRB. Please see the instructions below on how to change the setting in Qualtrics.

Anonymizing Responses in Qualtrics

Training videos about Qualtrics


Human Subjects Protection Training (CITI Training)

You will need to complete and print out the basic course completion report and attach it to the IRB submission. The CITI certificates are valid for up to 2 years. If your basic course is expired, please complete the refresher course, print it out, and attach it, with the basic course, to your IRB submission. If your refresher course is expired, you will need to complete another refresher course.

Important Note: All CITI certificates are required to be submitted with each IRB submission.

  • Training (CITI Program website) - Please be sure to set up your affiliation with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. See below for instructions:

Current Users:

  1. Log In
  2. Select blue tab below your Course that reads "Click here to affiliate with another institution"
  3. Type in "Rio Grande Valley", our institution should pop up
  4. Select "University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley"
  5. Enter the required information for your profile
  6. Select "Basic Course, Human Subjects Protection"
  7. Select "Group1: Social Behavioral Research Course"

*The CITI Basic course will be added to your main menu. You do not need to complete this course if you have a currently active training from your previous institution. If you previously completed course(s) are expired, please complete the basic course under your UTRGV account.

New Users: Please use the CITI Website Walkthrough document below for registration guidance.


Outside Affiliations Disclosure Certification (Outside Activity or Financial Conflicts of Interest)

Per University policy, all individuals involved in research must complete their Outside Affiliations Disclosure Certification on yearly basis. Students and Part Time employees must complete the paper form that is located under Forms and Templates on the IRBNet website. Full time employees (Faculty and Staff) must complete their Outside Activity certification on UT Systems online portal [http://outsideactivity.utsystem.edu]


Resources

Federal Guidelines and Policies
Decision Chart
Questions

Please feel free to contact UTRGV Institutional Review Board (IRB) through E-mail: irb@utrgv.edu or Phone: (956) 665-2093.