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 four IRBs:

  • Two IRBs—IRB Committees 1 and 2 meet monthly in the Atlanta area (and virtually) on the second and third Thursdays of each month, respectively. Each of these IRBs has about 15 regular members. All these IRBs review protocols from all Atlanta-based national centers and offices. None of these IRBs is dedicated to a particular CDC unit.
  • A third 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 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 and as needed for emergency situations.

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 IRB Executive Committee. This committee meets as needed 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: September 27, 2021
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