The SBER IRB Team—An Essential Part of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research
The Social, Behavioral & Educational Research Institutional Review Board (SBER IRB) is charged with reviewing and approving all human subject research studies conducted by faculty and students based on the Medford/Somerville campus. Lara Sloboda (IRB administrator), Martin LaVigne (IRB coordinator), and Emily Cox (staff assistant) make up the SBER IRB team for the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR).
Lara Sloboda earned her master’s and PhD in psychology from Tufts University. She joined the OVPR in 2011 and works part-time as an IRB administrator and part-time as a Tufts lecturer. A major part of her job is conducting administrative reviews of protocols submitted to the SBER IRB. Lara works with researchers to ensure their IRB protocol applications are complete and accurate. She then assigns each protocol to one or more IRB committee members for ethical and compliance review. She also coordinates, plans, and attends monthly meetings of the full IRB. “We try very hard to be good citizens by teaching people throughout the university about the importance of the IRB and how to work with the IRB,” Sloboda says. “That’s a really fun part of the job because you get to know people from across the university.”
Martin LaVigne has been with the OVPR for six years. He took on the position of SBER IRB coordinator in 2011. LaVigne coordinates the day-to-day management of the SBER IRB office. He attends the monthly meetings of the full IRB and records the minutes in compliance with federal regulations. He and Sloboda both give talks about the IRB across the university; faculty members can request a brief presentation for their classes. “We try to make dealing with the IRB as easy as possible,” he says.
Emily Cox recently graduated from Tufts with a major in English literature. She worked as a student assistant before taking on the full-time position of OVPR staff assistant in May 2011. Cox has both general OVPR responsibilities and SBER IRB responsibilities. She manages the SBER IRB email account, handles general IRB questions, and manages the SBER IRB wiki and files. She also manages OVPR student assistants and coordinates their work on various projects, such as uploading, copying, and distributing SBER IRB approval notices. “I like being the general problem solver for the office,” she says. “Every day is new; you never know what’s going to happen.”
For more on the SBER IRB, please go to http://www.tufts.edu/central/research/IRB.