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J Am Board Fam Med. 2008 Jul-Aug;21(4):345-52. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2008.04.080088.

Institutional review board training for community practices: advice from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality Practice-Based Research Network listserv.

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  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Human subject protection training is required for all research personnel regardless of funding source. This article summarizes recommendations from a discussion about ethics training for community personnel from the practice-based research network (PBRN) listserv sponsored by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality PBRN Resource Center. PBRN projects can involve community providers and their staff as subjects of the research project or as collaborators with recruitment and data collection. Distinguishing between usual care and research procedures is important for determining if training is required of community-based personnel. The use of research assistants or practice facilitators to collect research-related information is one way of limiting practice involvement to usual care procedures, thereby allowing PBRNs to limit training to dedicated research staff. Key methodologies for human subject protection training of community practice staff include on-site lectures, online modules, videotapes, and paper-based training. Ultimately, a discussion by the PBRN researcher with his or her governing Institutional Review Board is recommended for finding acceptable strategies within a PBRN.

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