The history of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a product of the attempts at improving the ethical conduct of biomedical research and providing protection to human subjects. These attempts started in 1945 after the post World War II Nuremberg Code addressed issues of unethical human experimentation (1). Details of these issues were later more extensively formulated in the International Ethical Code of the Declaration of Helsinki in 1964 (2). These efforts accelerated and matured after the public disclosure of the infamous Tuskegee study conducted on 399 impoverished African American sharecroppers between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama, USA (3). The Tuskegee Study was undertaken by the US Department of Health In order to study the late complications of syphilis without treatment. The study continued for years after effective antibiotics were in common use (3). The study was terminated only after the press uncovered it and brought it to public attention (3&4). This and other issues led to the Belmont Declaration in 1978, and eventually human subject protection became law in 1991 (5). Subsequently, this led to the requirement by most international medical journals that clinical studies must have approval of the local IRB as a condition of publication (6).
As a leading educational institution in the Middle East, An-Najah University benefits from the formation of an Institutional Review Board (IRB). The Board has the authority to approve, disapprove or make recommendations to proposed clinical research proposals to be conducted at An-Najah University or its affiliated institutions. In order to familiarize research workers with issues leading to formation and function of IRB, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has developed an online course which is now internationally required by IRBs and applicants for IRB approval applications. Until the creation of an alternate internationally-adopted IRB education body, An-Najah University will require members of IRB and clinical investigators submitting a proposal to obtain a certificate from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by completing the online course on Human Participant Protections Education for Research Teams (http://phrp.nihtraining.com/users/login.php).
The An-Najah IRB is composed of twelve members representing the Faculties of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Sciences, Arts, Engineering and Physical Education colleges. It also has a university attorney who is familiar with local regulations, as well as two lay individuals who are familiar with human research. The committee also includes a member of the clergy. There is also an Ex-Officio non-voting member who represents the administration (the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine). The Board is chaired by RM Bashir, MD, who has been charged with IRB development at the institution. To ensure familiarity with research issues and the issues that led to the formation of the Board, all members complete the online course on Human Participant Protections Education for Research Teams (http://phrp.nihtraining.com/users/login.php).
Prior to applying for IRB approval, the principal investigator as well as other members of the applying team must complete the on-line course on Human Participant Protections Education for Research Teams (http://phrp.nihtraining.com/users/login.php) and include a copy of their certification with their submission. The initial application, available on An-Najah IRB website (irb [at] najah [dot] edu), is completed and the submitted electronically to the same site (attachment #1). The initial submission should be accompanied by a completed consent form, available electronically with the IRB application (attachment #2).
The Board meets every other month and reviews all applications. If the need arises, the Board will meet monthly. The schedule for the meetings for the entire year is circulated on the first of August the prior year. Additional meetings, as the need arises, will be announced as needed.
Click to Download Protocol for Human Subjects Research (Continuing Subjects)
Click to Download Protocol for Human Subjects Research (New Subjects)