Webinar Follow-Up: Practical and Effective Approaches to Educate IRB Members

Recently, PRIM&R hosted a webinar titled Practical and Effective Approaches To Educate IRB Members, which was presented by Mina P. Busch, MS, CCRP, CIP, and Scott Lipkin, DPM, CIP.

Educating institutional review board (IRB) members can be a challenging task. How do you balance finding effective ways to deliver relevant and valuable information with limited time and resources? What are the best methodologies to evaluate the impact of your educational plan? For those responsible for, or involved in educating IRB members, this webinar helped explore these questions and develop a successful IRB member education program.

At the conclusion of the webinar, Ms. Busch and Dr. Lipkin shared additional insight in response to questions from webinar attendees, and we’re pleased to share that with the readers of Ampersand.

1. What recommendations—in addition to those you presented during the webinar—can you share about training IRB chairs and vice chairs?
Scott_LipkinScott Lipkin (SL): In addition to what was discussed during the webinar, networking with peers and colleagues at other institutions is an excellent way for IRB chairs and vice chairs to garner educational insight. Attendance at PRIM&R’s annual Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference and participating in the IRB Chair Affinity group can also be effective. As co-chair of the Workshop Didactic Planning Committee for this year’s AER conference, I am proud to announce that, for the first time, the conference will feature a full track dedicated to IRB chairs.

Mina Busch (MB): I would also recommend a webinar that PRIM&R held in 2012, titled A Roadmap to Success for New IRB Chairs. It’s available to PRIM&R members free of charge in the Knowledge Center, and available for purchase to nonmembers.

2. Two issues our academic institution struggles with are motivating IRB members, and ensuring comprehension and retention of information. Are there any strategies that you’ve found effective?
SL: Serving on the IRB is not for everyone, so I’d ask yourself if those who are struggling to maintain engagement are a good fit for the committee. That said, some ideas for incentives to motivate IRB members during the meeting might include providing CME credits (which requires partnering with your education department and a considerable amount of time) and offering food during your IRB meetings.

MB: Involving IRB members in the selection and/or delivery of the topics increases their commitment. We typically poll our members about topics they’d like to hear about and find that giving them a vote often enhances their commitment to attend. We’ve also had some sessions taught by IRB members (alone or in tandem with another speaker) and again, we see higher attendance at these events.

3. How do you respond to training evaluation data? 
MB: We read all training evaluation data and make revisions to our programs based on the feedback we receive. Sometimes if the feedback is inconsistent, we discuss it in an IRB meeting or poll to find the key data.

4. Can you comment on the challenge of educating alternate members that do not attend the meetings? When you send materials to IRB members, how do you know that they have read the materials?
SL: This is a very good question and an issue that we all face. Distributing meeting minutes, educational materials, etc. to all IRB members (alternates included) is very important. You, of course, never really know if any IRB member is reading and reviewing required materials, and that goes back to my point in the earlier question. Perhaps a member who is not able to be engaged with the material isn’t the right fit for the committee.

A very effective way to educate alternate members is by keeping them engaged and interested. This can be done through assigning them reviews and assuring that they occasionally attend meetings.

PRIM&R would like to thank Ms. Busch and Dr. Lipkin for sharing their expertise. Do you have an idea for a webinar? Consider contributing to our third annual Call for Webinar Proposals.

If you were unable to attend this webinar and are interested in purchasing the archive, you may do so here.