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Spring 2007, Issue 7

SBER IRB Help at Your Fingertips

Yvonne Wakeford, PhD, is the institutional review board (IRB) administrator for social, behavioral and educational research (SBER) on the Medford/Somerville Campus. With assistance from Jeanne Eisenhaure and Martin LaVigne, Yvonne works with investigators to develop human subject research protocols that assure adequate protection of participants. These protocols must be approved by the Tufts University SBER IRB before research is initiated. The process can be daunting, but help is always available.

  • You can browse the SBER IRB website for information and all the appropriate forms.
  • If you have a question, you can email us at SBER@tufts.edu.
  • Our open-door policy allows you to drop by for help at 20 Professors Row, Medford, weekdays between 9 and 5.
  • If you prefer to schedule an appointment with Yvonne, please call (617) 627-3417.
  • You can also schedule an SBER IRB presentation for a class or faculty meeting and select your own topics. Past presentations have covered the history of the IRB, the role of the IRB, determining the type of review required, how to complete forms, the importance of the consent process, and assessing risk to human participants. Yvonne tailors IRB presentations to suit your specific requirements.  

Here is some information pertaining to common misconceptions about the IRB process:

  • Federal regulations require that you keep raw data for a minimum of three years, so you cannot state less than this time on the SBER IRB Protocol Application (page 7, Section IX, Question D) where it asks: “How long will raw data be kept and what are the plans for destruction of raw data?”
  • IRB protocol applications for exemption or expedited review are processed on a rolling basis; you do not have to wait for the monthly IRB committee meeting.
  • Expedited is not synonymous with quick; the same rigorous review is conducted, but by fewer members of the IRB committee.
  • Exemption from review and the type of review—expedited or full—depends on the level of risk to participants. Check with Yvonne to verify which type of review your protocol requires.

Yvonne, Jeanne, and Martin look forward to working with you.



Tufts University, Office of the Vice Provost
Health Sciences Campus: (617) 636-6550
Medford/Somerville Campus: (617) 627-3417
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