BCEHI nearing pilot implementation of harmonized review models

The summer months have been an active period for the BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative.

The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research is actively working with the initiative’s partner organizations to facilitate the development and implementation of harmonized ethics review models for research involving human subjects.

An advisory committee representing the partner organizations, the main geographic areas of BC, and key areas of expertise met twice over the summer months with excellent progress. The committee developed a harmonized ethics review model for minimal-risk studies that has been endorsed by the partner organizations’ senior leadership for pilot implementation and evaluation over six months, starting in October.

Advisory committee members will be meeting with research ethics board members and administrators in their respective organizations during September to share and provide orientation to the model prior to implementation.

The means by which the model will be evaluated is integral to this pilot implementation. Evaluation tools are under development and will be finalized prior to implementation of the pilot. The aim is to seek feedback from the stakeholders involved in each harmonized review, including researchers, REB members, and REB administrators, using standard metrics and a post-review survey.

A draft model for the review of above-minimal-risk studies has also been developed by the advisory committee. Refinement of this model is underway and will be followed by a consultation with internal REB members and administrators to gain feedback prior to pilot implementation, which is anticipated later this fall.

The pilot implementation of these models is a key deliverable in achieving harmonized ethics review in BC.