CDC's Institutional Review Boards

CDC’s IRBs have members from a variety of disciplines and interests, including health fields, social sciences, methodology, laboratory sciences, toxicology, and non-scientists from fields such as ethics, education, and youth advocacy. Most IRBs have members with specialized knowledge of the interests of pregnant women, children, and prisoners. Each IRB has from one to three members who are not affiliated with CDC.

CDC has seven IRBs:

  • Four IRBs—IRBs A, B, C, and G—meet monthly in the Atlanta area, generally on the first, second, third, and fourth Thursdays of each month, respectively. Each of these IRBs has about 15 regular members. All of these IRBs review protocols from all Atlanta-based national centers and offices. None of these IRBs is dedicated to a particular CDC unit.
  • A fifth Atlanta-based IRB (IRB S) meets as needed for response and preparedness activities. These activities often involve products not currently licensed by the FDA. IRB S has about 6 members.
  • The Research Ethics Review Board serves the National Center for Health Statistics, located in Hyattsville, MD. This board meets on the third Wednesday of each month and as needed for emergency situations.
  • The Human Subjects Review Board serves the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, located in Cincinnati, OH. This board meets on the second Tuesday of each month.

IRB members serve for two years, but may serve longer at the discretion of the CDC Human Research Protection Office, the IRB chair, and the member. Service on an IRB is considered vital to the continuing research efforts of the agency and volunteers are always welcome.

The IRB chairs and vice-chairs collectively form the IRE Executive Committee. This committee meets monthly to discuss matters of common interest to the IRBs, to refine policy and practice, and to strive for reasonable consistency across the IRBs.

Page last reviewed: October 11, 2017
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