Robert Klitzman: Exploring the Researcher-IRB Disconnect

In this episode of More than Meets the IRB: A Joint Initiative of Washington University in St. Louis and PRIM&R, we speak with Dr. Robert Klitzman about transparency and consistency of IRBs in addition to their sometimes-fraught relationship with investigators.

Dr. Klitzman is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in the College of Physicians and Surgeons and Director of the Masters of Bioethics Program at Columbia University. He is the author of The Ethics Police?: The Struggle to Make Human Research Safe, which constituted some of the first broad, qualitative research on “how IRBs actually make decisions.”

In a conversation at PRIM&R’s 2016 Advancing Ethical Research Conference, Dr. Klitzman talks about the factors that generate tension between IRBs and researchers, including the structural incentives researchers face and internal inconsistencies in decision-making by IRBs that “send a confusing message to the research community.” We discuss what’s missing in the world of IRBs that can bridge the gap with researchers, and new developments in the field that have the potential to facilitate (or hinder) the achievement of that goal.

We discuss a previous episode of More than Meets the IRB, with Dr. Laura Stark, which can be found here.

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