The institutional review board (IRB) is a group federally mandated to review and monitor research involving humans to ensure protection of their rights and welfare as research participants. Clinicians engaged in research require IRB approval for all research involving human participants, whether living individuals, data, or specimens. The process for obtaining IRB approval may seem like a daunting task. However, it is critical for clinical researchers to conduct research in a manner that protects human participants, and it is the mission of the IRB to help researchers accomplish this task. The purpose of this article is to review the role and purpose of the IRB, highlight federal and regulatory standards in human research participants protection, and help clinical researchers have a broader understanding of IRB functions that will help them conduct high-quality research with human participants.
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