A new collaborative process between the University of Windsor and Windsor Regional Hospital will help researchers more easily satisfy the ethics boards of both institutions.
The University of Windsor Research Ethics Board (REB) will now accept all Windsor Regional’s application forms as part of the review process for any studies that need to satisfy both review boards. This enables researchers to complete only one set of forms instead of filling out both Windsor Regional Board and the University of Windsor REB applications.
“We are trying to streamline this process so that there are essentially only one set of expectations that researchers need to meet to satisfy both University of Windsor and Windsor Regional,” says Suzanne McMurphy, chair of the University of Windsor Research Ethics Board. “There are still two reviews at this time, however University of Windsor REB will now accept Windsor Regional’s forms for our own review.”
The REB will also accept Windsor Regional’s approval on certain types of protocols, such as the secondary use of data.
“If a faculty member is affiliated with Windsor Regional and also affiliated with University of Windsor, we will accept Windsor Regional’s clearance for secondary use of data — data that’s housed at Windsor Regional,” says Dr. McMurphy. “If Windsor Regional says it’s okay to utilize that data, and it’s okay for the researchers to do their analysis with that data, we will then accept that clearance.”
Caroline Hamm, an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, medical oncologist at Windsor Regional Hospital, and clinical research director of the Windsor Cancer Research Group, says that this is a big step towards building collaborative relationships between the University and the hospital.
“The more we work together to streamlining the research processes and administration between institutions, the more we can focus on the research itself and the impact on patient care,” Dr. Hamm says.
McMurphy says further discussion will revolve around the details of moving tissues back and forth between Windsor Regional and University of Windsor, and towards accepting Windsor Regional’s clearance for projects to better support researchers by ensuring only a single REB clearance is necessary.