Article: The Value of CIP to Western IRB

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The Value of CIP® to Western IRB

by David Forster (as published in PRIM&R's Member Newsletter in July 2007)

David Forster CIP The Certified IRB Professional (CIP) exam has been very valuable to Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB). Prior to the creation of the CIP exam, there was no standard test by which an individual could objectively show possession of the knowledge necessary to serve an administrative role in support of an IRB. The CIP exam provides this standard, and as such provides several advantages to WIRB both internally and externally. First, the CIP allows WIRB to ensure that personnel in key positions have a solid knowledge of the historical, regulatory, and ethical requirements necessary to support an IRB. Thus, the CIP plays an important part of WIRB assessment of employees and is a qualification for many of our positions. WIRB has 23 staff positions for which passing the CIP exam is a requirement. Fifty-four employees at WIRB have taken and passed the CIP exam over the last six years. When hiring new employees, WIRB prefers those applicants who have passed the CIP Exam.

The CIP is also useful for those WIRB employees in positions for which CIP is not a requirement, as they can voluntarily take the exam to increase their chances of advancement to a position for which it is required. The existence of the CIP exam also helps to drive employee improvement even for those employees who do not need to pass the CIP. Once a year WIRB conducts an internal preparation course for the CIP, and many employees who do not need to or plan to take the CIP attend the classes. WIRB hosts a six-month international fellowship for IRB members and administrators in conjunction with WHO, and some of these international fellows also have passed the CIP while they are here in the United States as a measure of their education.

Another advantage of the CIP is that provides an objective measure of quality and expertise that can be shown to the community outside of WIRB. We have pointed out the number of employees who have passed the CIP Exam during the Office of Human Research Protections Quality Improvement process, Food and Drug Administration inspections, and the many sponsor audits that WIRB hosts every year.

The CIP credential raises the standards of administrative performance within our organization. Increased knowledge about the ethical principles and regulations that govern human subjects research is likely to enhance the quality of HRPP programs generally.