Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Dreaded IRB Process

For most Woodrow Wilsons, the Institutional Review Board process should be a cake-walk because they are not dealing with:

1. Underage children (17 and below)

2. Prisoners

3. Non-parental consent

Unfortunately, I am dealing with all those problems, aka, I picked the worse population possible. I've probably made 10 different drafts (each full app have about 8 different forms you have to fill out, many of the forms are many pages), and run into about 20 different obstacles along the way. Despite my frustrations, Ms. Benham, the IRB woman, as I call her, has been really helpful. Although she is new, she is really patient with me. The pre- and post- assessment that I am doing on the youth is still being reviewed, and after being looked at by the IRB chair, they have decided to take the case to full board, aka, the entire committee must see my project proposal. That means I get the joy of waiting until DECEMBER to get my application reviewed (they meet once a month, and not this November, apparently).

Most people also don't run into as many problems like this because they have a Principal Investigator or mentor that they work under who already have IRB approval. In that case, all the Fellow has to do is sign on with the PI's existing file. If only life were that simple.

Things I have learned:

1. IRB approval is never fun.

2. Serves me right for being so stubborn and not changing my project. I will fight to do this project on my own, in my own way!

3. I might have to change the study that I will be doing in China.

So I went to Dr. Zabin again to see if she had any ideas of what I could do in China. She has a few projects in mind, like setting up connections between family planning clinics and schools, and I still want to do my CRASH program, but what to do for my study? I think I will just be doing a literature review and looking at data. I have much to learn!

Anyway, onward, in the face of IRB adversity! I am learning so much about the research process, in just these few years. I am liking research more and more, now that I am doing this project on my own. I am lucky because I have a great balance. At the BME lab that I am working at right now, I get to participate and experience cutting edge research, however, through the Woodrow Wilson Research Fellowship, I am learning about the hardships, obstacles, and hard work that goes into starting, implementing, and finishing an independent project. I love it.

No comments:

Post a Comment