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Institutional Review Board (IRB), FWA00010976

About the IRB

The IRB is part of the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). The IRB reviews proposed human research studies to ensure compliance with federal (45 CFR 46) and state (22VAC40-890-10 et seq.) regulations. The IRB ensures the protection of the rights, welfare, and wellbeing of clients or staff involved as subjects in research.

Not all research involving humans will require VDSS IRB submission or approval. Only activities meeting regulatory definitions of (a) "research" and (b) "human subjects" and where (c) VDSS is "engaged" in the conduct of human subjects research require VDSS IRB review and approval.

"Research" means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Activities which meet this definition constitute research for purposes of this policy, whether or not they are conducted or supported under a program which is considered research for other purposes. For example, some demonstration and service programs may include research activities.

"Human subject" means a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains

  1. Data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or
  2. Identifiable private information.

Also see Virginia Administrative Code 22VAC40-890-10 et seq.

The proposed research could involve activities conducted or authorized by any of the following:

  • VDSS
  • Local departments of social services
  • VDSS-licensed facilities; or
  • VDSS-authorized contractors

Questions or IRB applications should be submitted to irb@dss.virginia.gov

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