2011 Webinar: Community IRB Members

Webinar Archives - Members  Webinar Archives - Non-Members


Community IRB Members: Supporting Their Involvement to Advance Research focused on the engagement of community members in the function of institutional review boards (IRBs). The presenters for this webinar included an institutional official, a community member of an IRB, and a federal agency representative.

During this webinar, participants learned about:

  • The role of the community IRB member: meeting the need for community representation and providing the benefit of fresh perspectives
  • The IRB’s responsibilities: educating new community members and sensitizing other IRB members to the value of community members’ contributions to the research enterprise
  • The community member experience: challenges of joining an IRB, what to expect in the first year, and tips for integration
  • The Department of Energy’s initiative for enhancing community member participation: past programs and future directions


This webinar was geared toward community IRB members as well as IRB chairs, members, staff, and administrators.


Malena Avila Hough
Malena Avila Hough has been a member of the University of Southern California (USC) Health Science IRB since 2003. The notebook that Malena kept as a community member served as inspiration for the community member guidebook that USC now issues. Malena has presented on her experience at various meetings. A native of Southern California, Malena attended the University of California at San Diego and majored in Political Science with a minor in Urban Studies and Planning. After college, she traveled through Mexico, returning to the United States to work on a presidential campaign. Malena has since worked with elected officials and in healthcare consulting. The last ten years have been well spent raising her three children. Accustomed to staying involved and working hard, she volunteers in her community as well. She is active on the PTA and with the Friends of the Library. Most notable is her involvement as a community member on the USC Health Science Institutional Review Board. Malena lives in Southern California with her husband, three kids and their dog. She finds her position as a community member very rewarding.

David Strauss, MD
David Strauss, MD, is currently deputy director for research at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) and vice chairman of research administration, ethics, and policy at the department of psychiatry, Columbia University (CU) College of Physicians and Surgeons. In 2010, Dr. Strauss was appointed vice chairman for research administration, ethics, and policy and deputy director for research at NYSPI. Dr. Strauss is also currently co-director of the HIV center's ethics core, a member of the executive committee of the administrative council for the CU Center for Bioethics, a member of the CU conflict of interest committee, and chair of Columbia's standing committee on the conduct of science. Between 2007 and 2011 Dr. Strauss served as a member of the US Department of Health secretary's advisory committee on human subjects protection. Dr. Strauss teaches research and professional ethics at NYSPI and CU. He lectures widely on research ethics. Dr. Strauss has spent his academic career in the department of psychiatry at Columbia University. In 1989, he became an attending research psychiatrist, and soon after, chief of the schizophrenia research unit at NYSPI. From 1994 to 2000, Dr. Strauss served as the clinical director of NYSPI and chair of the NYSPI ethics committee. Dr. Strauss was appointed chair of the department’s IRB in 2000, and in 2004, he was named director of the office of human subjects research. In his office-based practice of general psychiatry, Dr. Strauss' expertise is in the combined psychotherapy and medication management of depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders and in psychopharmacology consultation.

Elizabeth (Libby) White, MBA, MPH
Elizabeth (Libby) White, MBA, MPH is the DOE Human Subjects Protection Program Manager. She moved to the DOE Office of Science in 2007 from the agency’s Office of Health, Safety and Security (HS), where she was Director of the Office of Former Worker Screening Programs. During her 12 years in HS and its predecessor organization, she managed both domestic medical screening services and international radiation health effects research. White has a Master's in Business Administration from Northwestern University and a Master's in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.