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Subject Phone Calls


IRB considers input from research subjects to be a valuable source of information for not only enhancing the protection of subjects participating in research but also for helping to continually improve the quality of research.


Receiving Calls: Research subjects are provided with contact information for addressing concerns regarding their rights as a research subject in the consent document. This information directs subjects to call the IRB office. The IRB website also has the IRB contact information including  phone number and email address.

The person answering the call collects basic information including name of the caller, contact details, whether caller is a subject or calling on behalf of a subject, the protocol title of the research study if any, and the reason for the call. If the caller is not willing to provide personal details, the staff attending the call should not insist for these details.

Questions on Participation in Research: If the caller requests more information or answers to questions such as the rights of the research subject or other information regarding participation in a research study in general, the staff attending the call should answer the subjects questions to the best of his/her ability.

Complaints or Concerns on Specific Research: If the caller has a complaint or has concerns on a specific research project the staff attending the call should gather as much information as required on the complaint/concern. The staff attending the call should ask the caller if they are agreeable to disclosure of their name to the Principal Investigator.

Review: If the complaint/concerns of the subject are not serious, IRB director will notify the Principal Investigator about the complaint/concern and ask them for an explanation and to outline corrective actions if relevant.

For serious complaints/concerns which appear to be a major noncompliance on the part of the research team, the IRB director will consult with the IRB chair or the executive chairperson. The chair and IRB director will review the complaint and contact the appropriate institutional individuals and make a determination as to the next steps of action. These could include any combination of the following:

  • Contact the study subject to obtain further details
  • Contact Principal Investigator for explanation/further details
  • Refer for discussion at the next Full Board Meeting
  • Require Principal Investigator to implement corrective actions
  • Refer for discussion at the next Executive Committee meeting

If the complaint involves possible noncompliance, it will be handled in accordance with the policy and procedure on noncompliance.

The confidentiality of the subject will be maintained. Subject names will not be disclosed to the individuals involved in the complaint, unless disclosure is required to reconcile the situation (i.e. if individual wants name removed from a database or patient study pool, the disclosure of the name is required).

Upon resolution of the event, the IRB director will notify the IRB and the Executive Committee at the next scheduled meeting.


  1. 45 CFR 46 Protection of Human Subjects
  2. 21 CFR 56 Institutional Review Board
  3. 21 CFR 50 Protection of Human Subjects


  1. 101-B04 Conflict of Interest CPHS Members and Consultants.


  1. Agenda template
  2. Minutes template

If you find errors in this document, contact 

Document Number:


Document Name:

Subject Calls

Reviewed by:

Executive Director, Research Compliance


1 Aug 2008

Revision History:

1 Aug 2011, 1 Jun 2016, 21 Jan 2019, 1 Jun 2021

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